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Respir Med. 2009 Oct;103(10):1441-7. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2009.04.025. Epub 2009 Jul 16.

Predicting survival in end-stage cystic fibrosis.

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Department of Cystic Fibrosis, Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, Sydney Street, London SW3 6NP, UK.


The natural history of cystic fibrosis (CF) is unpredictable and the optimal timing for lung transplantation in end-stage disease uncertain. Predicting survival based on FEV1 alone remains controversial and therefore the aim of this study was to assess the value of walk test performance in pre-transplant assessment. Retrospective review of adult patients with end-stage CF who underwent transplant assessment between 1988 and 2004 including a documented walk test on room air, but who died before transplant. The six-minute walk test (6MWT) was used between 1988 and 1993 and the shuttle walk test (SWT) thereafter, the two cohorts were therefore individually assessed. A total of 121 patients were identified. The median (IQR) survival in patients performing SWT (n=77) and 6MWT (n=44) was 363 days (226, 566) and 433 days (232, 844), respectively, with survival in both cohorts significantly associated with pre-test (resting) heart rate (HR) (p<0.03), but not distance walked, pre-test SpO2, FEV1 or BMI. It was predicted that 85% of patients performing SWT with a resting HR of 120 bpm, 70% of those with a HR of 109 bpm (cohort median) but only 25% with a HR of 72 bpm would die within 500 days. Distance walked in the SWT was significantly related to pre-test HR (p<0.01), SpO2 (p<0.01) and Borg score (p=0.016) when performing linear regression. Only pre-test HR remained significant when performing multiple regression. Resting heart rate was the only consistent parameter in this study at predicting a high risk of dying on the transplant waiting list.

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