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Clin Rehabil. 2001 Apr;15(2):119-24.

Assessment of a low-intensity cardiac rehabilitation programme using the six-minute walk test.

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  • 1Royal Liverpool University Hospital, UK.



To examine the utility of the six-minute walk test (6'WT), in assessing the effectiveness of a six-week cardiac rehabilitation programme, of which exercise training was an integral part.


Royal Liverpool and Broad Green Hospitals Rehabilitation Unit.


Two hundred and thirty-nine consecutive patients referred for cardiac rehabilitation were allocated to one of two groups. In group A 209 entered and 159 completed the usual rehabilitation programme whilst group B patients (n = 30) acted as a control by deferring entry to the programme for six weeks, continuing only activities of daily living.


Both groups were assessed using the 6'WT, peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) and isometric grip strength at enrolment and six weeks.


At baseline, groups A and B were demographically identical without significant differences in terms of 6'WT, PEFR or grip strength. Following the study period, group A showed a significant increase in 6'WT from 314.7 +/- 76.2 to 377.3 +/- 78.6 m, in PEFR from 406.9 +/- 115.9 to 437.8 +/- 118.6 litres per minute and in grip strength from 28.8 +/- 9.31 to 30.3 +/- 8.93 kg, all p < 0.001. There were no significant changes in group B.


The 6'WT proved to be a simple and effective measurement of functional capacity in patients performing cardiac rehabilitation. The clinical programme investigated successfully increased patients' functional capacity as assessed by the 6'WT. Significant improvement in PEFR and grip strength was also demonstrated, compared with a control population.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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