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Using a 6-Minute Walk Test to Predict Outcomes in Patients with Left Ventricular Dysfunction


Cardiology Department, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, 125 Nashua Street, Boston, MA 02114.


Maximal oxygen consumption (VO2MAX) is an independent variable that predicts outcomes in patients suffering from left ventricular dysfunction (LVD). Determining VO2MAX in a rehabilitation setting is not only costly and time-consuming but it would also be beyond many patients' physical abilities. This study's goal was to show that a simpler and less costly 6-minute walk test can predict mortality in patients with LVD. Sixty-six Phase 1 cardiac rehabilitation patients with LVD performed the 6-minute walk test upon admission and at discharge from a rehabilitation hospital. Upon discharge, the group that was able to walk significantly longer distances upon discharge had a higher survival rate 3 months after discharge. The 6-minute walk test can predict longer survival in patients with LVD and can provide valuable information for determining treatment plans, future prognosis, and home disposition of deconditioned LVD patients in a rehabilitation setting.