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      Six-minute stepper test: a valid clinical exercise tolerance test for COPD patients

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          Abstract

          Introduction

          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.

          Objective

          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.

          Methods

          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.

          Results

          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).

          Conclusion

          The results of this study show that the 6MST is a valid test to evaluate exercise tolerance in COPD patients. The use of this test in clinical practice appears to be particularly relevant for the assessment of patients managed by home PR.

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          Most cited references 32

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          The 6-minute walk: a new measure of exercise capacity in patients with chronic heart failure.

          Cycle and treadmill exercise tests are unsuitable for elderly, frail and severely limited patients with heart failure and may not reflect capacity to undertake day-to-day activities. Walking tests have proved useful as measures of outcome for patients with chronic lung disease. To investigate the potential value of the 6-minute walk as an objective measure of exercise capacity in patients with chronic heart failure, the test was administered six times over 12 weeks to 18 patients with chronic heart failure and 25 with chronic lung disease. The subjects also underwent cycle ergometer testing, and their functional status was evaluated by means of conventional measures. The walking test proved highly acceptable to the patients, and stable, reproducible results were achieved after the first two walks. The results correlated with the conventional measures of functional status and exercise capacity. The authors conclude that the 6-minute walk is a useful measure of functional exercise capacity and a suitable measure of outcome for clinical trials in patients with chronic heart failure.
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            Interpreting small differences in functional status: the Six Minute Walk test in chronic lung disease patients.

            Functional status measurements are often difficult to interpret because small differences may be statistically significant but not clinically significant. How much does the Six Minute Walk test (6MW) need to differ to signify a noticeable difference in walking ability for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)? We studied individuals with stable COPD (n = 112, mean age = 67 yr, mean FEV1 = 975 ml) and estimated the smallest difference in 6MW distances that was associated with a noticeable difference in patients' subjective comparison ratings of their walking ability. We found that the 6MW was significantly correlated with patients' ratings of their walking ability relative to other patients (r = 0.59, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.54 to 0.63). Distances needed to differ by 54 m for the average patient to stop rating themselves as "about the same" and start rating themselves as either "a little bit better" or "a little bit worse" (95% CI: 37 to 71 m). We suggest that differences in functional status can be statistically significant but below the threshold at which patients notice a difference in themselves relative to others; an awareness of the smallest difference in walking distance that is noticeable to patients may help clinicians interpret the effectiveness of symptomatic treatments for COPD.
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              Pulmonary rehabilitation for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

              The widespread application of pulmonary rehabilitation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) should be preceded by demonstrable improvements in function attributable to the programs. This review updates that reported in 2001. To determine the impact of rehabilitation on health-related quality of life (QoL) and exercise capacity in patients with COPD. We identified additional RCTs from the Cochrane Airways Group Specialised Register. Searches were current as of July 2004. We selected RCTs of rehabilitation in patients with COPD in which quality of life (QoL) and/or functional (FEC) or maximal (MEC) exercise capacity were measured. Rehabilitation was defined as exercise training for at least four weeks with or without education and/or psychological support. Control groups received conventional community care without rehabilitation. We calculated weighted mean differences (WMD) using a random-effects model. We requested missing data from the authors of the primary study. We included the 23 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in the 2001 Cochrane review. Eight additional RCTs (for a total of 31) met the inclusion criteria. We found statistically significant improvements for all the outcomes. In four important domains of QoL (Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire scores for Dyspnea, Fatigue, Emotional function and Mastery), the effect was larger than the minimal clinically important difference of 0.5 units (for example: Dyspnoea score: WMD 1.0 units; 95% confidence interval: 0.8 to 1.3 units; n = 12 trials). Statistically significant improvements were noted in two of the three domains of the St. Georges Respiratory Questionnaire. For FEC and MEC, the effect was small and slightly below the threshold of clinical significance for the six-minute walking distance (WMD: 48 meters; 95% CI: 32 to 65; n = 16 trials). Rehabilitation relieves dyspnea and fatigue, improves emotional function and enhances patients' sense of control over their condition. These improvements are moderately large and clinically significant. Rehabilitation forms an important component of the management of COPD.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                1176-9106
                1178-2005
                2016
                29 March 2016
                : 11
                : 657-663
                Affiliations
                [1 ]FormAction Santé, Pérenchies, France
                [2 ]Department of Respiratory Medicine, Centre Hospitalier Germon et Gauthier, Béthune, France
                [3 ]Department of Respiratory Medicine Immunology and Allergy, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Lille, Competence Center for rare lung diseases, University Lille 2, Lille, France
                [4 ]EA 7369, URePSSS, Multidisciplinary Research Unit in Sport Health Society, University Lille 2, Lille, France
                [5 ]Faculty of Sport Sciences, Sports and Physical Activity, Center for Ecology and Transformation, University of Rouen, Mont Saint Aignan, France
                [6 ]Department of Statistical Methods and Biostatistics, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Lille, University of Lille Nord, Lille, France
                Author notes
                Correspondence: JM Grosbois, Service de Pneumologie, Centre Hospitalier Germon et Gauthier, Béthune 62408, France, Email jmgrosbois@ 123456formactionsante.com
                Article
                copd-11-657
                10.2147/COPD.S98635
                4820187
                27099483
                © 2016 Grosbois et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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