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      A Qualitative Systematic Overview of the Measurement Properties of Functional Walk Tests Used in the Cardiorespiratory Domain

      , , ,
      Chest
      American College of Chest Physicians

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          Development of a shuttle walking test of disability in patients with chronic airways obstruction.

          The aim was to develop a standardised and externally paced field walking test, incorporating an incremental and progressive structure, to assess functional capacity in patients with chronic airways obstruction. The usefulness of two different shuttle walking test protocols was examined in two separate groups of patients. The initial 10 level protocol (group A, n = 10) and a subsequent, modified, 12 level protocol (group B, n = 10) differed in the number of increments and in the speeds of walking. Patients performed three shuttle walking tests one week apart. Then the performance of patients (group C, n = 15) in the six minute walking test was compared with that in the second (modified) shuttle walking test protocol. Heart rate was recorded during all the exercise tests with a short range telemetry device. The 12 level modified protocol provided a measure of functional capacity in patients with a wide range of disability and was reproducible after just one practice walk; the mean difference between trial 2 v 3 was -2.0 (95% CI -21.9 to 17.9) m. There was a significant relation between the distance walked in the six minute walking test and the shuttle walking test (rho = 0.68) but the six minute walking test appeared to overestimate the extent of disability in some patients. The shuttle test provoked a graded cardiovascular response not evident in the six minute test. Moreover, the maximal heart rates attained were significantly higher for the shuttle walking test than for the six minute test. The shuttle walking test constitutes a standardised incremental field walking test that provokes a symptom limited maximal performance. It provides an objective measurement of disability and allows direct comparison of patients' performance.
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            Systematic reviews: synthesis of best evidence for clinical decisions.

            Systematic reviews can help practitioners keep abreast of the medical literature by summarizing large bodies of evidence and helping to explain differences among studies on the same question. A systematic review involves the application of scientific strategies, in ways that limit bias, to the assembly, critical appraisal, and synthesis of all relevant studies that address a specific clinical question. A meta-analysis is a type of systematic review that uses statistical methods to combine and summarize the results of several primary studies. Because the review process itself (like any other type of research) is subject to bias, a useful review requires clear reporting of information obtained using rigorous methods. Used increasingly to inform medical decision making, plan future research agendas, and establish clinical policy, systematic reviews may strengthen the link between best research evidence and optimal health care.
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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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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Chest
                Chest
                American College of Chest Physicians
                00123692
                January 2001
                January 2001
                : 119
                : 1
                : 256-270
                Article
                10.1378/chest.119.1.256
                e2f5f057-dde4-42cc-98d8-465d21ed6ff6
                © 2001

                http://www.elsevier.com/tdm/userlicense/1.0/


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