29 March 2016
Exercise tolerance testing is an integral part of the pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) management of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The 6-minute stepper test (6MST) is a new, well-tolerated, reproducible exercise test, which can be performed without any spatial constraints.
The aim of this study was to compare the results of the 6MST to those obtained during a 6-minute walk test (6MWT) and cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) in a cohort of COPD patients.
Ninety-one COPD patients managed by outpatient PR and assessed by 6MST, 6MWT, and CPET were retrospectively included in this study. Correlations between the number of steps on the 6MST, the distance covered on the 6MWT, oxygen consumption, and power at the ventilatory threshold and at maximum effort during CPET were analyzed before starting PR, and the improvement on the 6MST and 6MWT was compared after PR.
The number of steps on the 6MST was significantly correlated with the distance covered on the 6MWT ( r=0.56; P<0.0001), the power at maximum effort ( r=0.46; P<0.0001), and oxygen consumption at maximum effort ( r=0.39; P<0.005). Performances on the 6MST and 6MWT were significantly improved after PR (570 vs 488 steps, P=0.001 and 448 vs 406 m, respectively; P<0.0001). Improvements of the 6MST and 6MWT after PR were significantly correlated ( r=0.34; P=0.03).