08 September 2017
Our aim was to evaluate the use and impact of the practice walk test on enrolment, completion, and clinical functional response to pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) using the 2015 UK National Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Pulmonary Rehabilitation audit data. Patients were assessed according to whether a baseline practice walk test was performed or not. Study outcomes included use of the practice walk test, baseline and change in incremental shuttle walk test distance (ISWD) or 6-minute walk test distance (6MWD), and enrolment to and completion of PR program. Of 7,355 patients, only 1,666 (22.6%) had a baseline practice test. At baseline, the practice walk test group walked further as compared to the no practice walk test group: ISWD, 17.9 m [95% confidence interval (CI) 8.2–27.5 m] and 6MWD, 34.8 m (95% CI 24.7–44.9 m). The practice walk test group were 2.2 times (95% CI 1.8–2.6) more likely to enroll and 17% (95% CI 1.03–1.34) more likely to complete PR. Although the change in ISWD and 6MWD with PR was lower in the practice walk test group, they walked further at discharge assessment. Only 22.6% of the patients in the 2015 National PR audit had a practice walk test at assessment. Those who did had better enrolment, completion, and better baseline walking distance, from which the prescription is set.