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Respiration. 2003 Nov-Dec;70(6):579-84.

Shuttle walking test and 6-minute walking test induce a similar cardiorespiratory performance in patients recovering from an acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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  • 1Cardio-Thoracic Department, Pneumology Section, University of Pisa, Italy.



The incremental shuttle walking test (SWT) has recently been proposed as a more valid and reproducible alternative to the conventional 6-min walking test (6MWT) in the evaluation of exercise tolerance in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


To compare the cardiorespiratory performance obtained during two sessions of SWT with that obtained during two sessions of 6MWT.


We examined 18 patients (forced expiratory volume in 1 s: 48 +/- 14%) recovering from an acute exacerbation of COPD that had required hospitalization. In the same afternoon, each patient performed two SWT and two 6MWT, with an interval of at least 30 min between each test; the sequence of the tests was randomized.


Mean walking distance was greater in the second SWT test than in the first SWT. The changes from baseline in systolic blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation and dyspnea Borg index at the end of the test were similar between the two 6MWT and the two SWT. There was a highly significant correlation between walking distances measured during SWT and during 6MWT (rho: 0.85, p < 0.0005). Neither SWT nor 6MWT correlated with functional data of COPD.


SWT, though being considered to be closer to a submaximal exercise test than 6MWT, does not induce a greater cardiorespiratory performance than 6MWT in patients recovering from acute exacerbation of COPD.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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