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The 6-minute walk test in Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophy: Longitudinal observations



In this study we used the 6-minute walk distance (6MWD) to characterize ambulation over time in Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophy (DBMD). The 6MWD was assessed in 18 boys with DBMD and 22 healthy boys, ages 4–12 years, over mean [range] intervals of 58 [39–87] and 69 [52–113] weeks, respectively. Height and weight increased similarly in both groups. At 52 weeks, 6MWD decreased in 12 of 18 (67%) DBMD subjects (overall mean [range]: 357 [125–481] to 300 [0–510] meters; Δ −57 meters, −15.9%), but increased in 14 of 22 (64%) healthy subjects (overall mean [range]: 623 [479–754] to 636 [547–717] meters; Δ +13 meters, +2.1%). Two DBMD subjects lost ambulation. Changes in 6MWD depended on stride length and age; improvements usually occurred by 7–8 years of age; older DBMD subjects worsened, whereas older healthy subjects were stable. The 6MWD changes at 1 year confirm the validity of this endpoint and emphasize that preserving ambulation must remain a major goal of DBMD therapy. Muscle Nerve, 2010