Six-Minute Walk Test (6MWT)


Six-Minute Walk Test (6MWT) Evaluation Summary

  What does the tool measure? It is a functional walking test that determines the distance that a client can walk within six minutes.
  What types of clients can the tool be used for? Patients with stroke, head injury, Parkinson’s, pulmonary and cardiac diseases, elderly individuals and healthy adults.
  Is this a screening or assessment tool? Assessment
Time to administer 6 minutes
  Versions 12MWT, 5MWT, 3MWT, 2MWT
Other Languages Not applicable.
Measurement Properties
  Reliability – Four studies examined the test-retest reliability of the 6MWT and reported excellent test-retest reliability (ICC = 0.97 – 0.99).
– One study examined the intra-rater and inter-rater reliability of the 6MWT and found the test to have adequate intra-rater (ICC = 0.74) and excellent inter-rater (ICC = 0.78) reliabilities.

– 3 studies examined the concurrent validity of the 6MWT and reported excellent correlations with Vo2max gold standard; with five-meter walk velocities for preferred speed and fast speed; and with the Locomotor subscale of the Functional Independence Measure (FIM).
– 2 studies reported adequate correlations between the 6MWT and Vo2peak and exercise test duration, and between the 6MWT and the Motor subscale of the FIM and the total FIM.

– 4 studies examined the convergent validity of the 6MWT and found excellent correlations with the 2 MWT, the 5 MWT, the 12 MWT, the Berg Balance Scale, and the Reintegration to Normal Living (RNL) Index as well as an adequate relationship with the Quadriceps Eccentric Paretic Strength.

– 1 study examined the predictive validity of the 6MWT in patients with stroke and found it to be an excellent predictor of mean steps per day.

  Does the tool detect change in patients? – 6 studies have used the 6MWT to demonstrate the effectiveness of various exercise interventions and found an increase in the distance walked ranging from 28.21m to 102.8m post-intervention. One study directly examined the responsiveness of the 6MWT and reported that the 6MWT has a large standardized response mean (SRM), indicating that it is a sensitive measure in clients with stroke.
  Acceptability The 6MWT has been used in acute, sub-acute and chronic stroke populations.
Note: Care should be taken to evaluate safety in ambulation prior to testing to ensure that the patient is safe to walk alone without supervision before the test is chosen as an assessment.
Feasibility The 6MWT requires no specialized training to administer and only simple equipment is required (a stop-watch, Borg Scale, and pulse oximeter when necessary). It is a simple test that required 100-ft, quiet, indoor, flat, straight rectangular hallway. The walking course must be 30m in length and for 30m the length of corridor must be marked every 3m with colored tape.
How to obtain the tool? Detailed instructions for administration as found in the 6MWT module are sufficient information for administering the 6MWT.