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J Bras Pneumol. 2012 Sep-Oct;38(5):579-87.

Responsiveness of the six-minute step test to a physical training program in patients with COPD.

[Article in English, Portuguese]

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UNICEP, Central Paulista University Center – São Carlos, Brazil.



To evaluate the responsiveness of the six-minute step test (6MST) to an aerobic physical training program (PTP) and to determine the efficacy of the PTP regarding spirometric variables during the 6MST, as well as physical performance, sensation of dyspnea, and SpO2 during the 6MST and the six-minute walk test (6MWT), in patients with COPD.


This was a controlled, prospective randomized study involving patients clinically diagnosed with COPD, with an FEV₁/FVC ratio < 70%, and having been clinically stable in the last two months. The patients were randomized to undergo a PTP on a treadmill, three times a week, for six weeks (PTP group) or not (control group). Histories were taken from all of the patients, who received regular respiratory therapy during the study period, undergoing physical examination and spirometry before and after bronchodilator use; incremental symptom-limited cardiopulmonary exercise testing; the 6MST; and the 6MWT.


Of the 36 patients that completed the study, 21 and 15 were in the PTP and control groups, respectively. In the PTP group, there was a significant increase in the number of steps climbed during the 6MST and in the six-minute walk distance (in m and % of predicted), as well as a significant decrease in the sensation of dyspnea during the 6MWT.


The 6MST showed responsiveness to the PTP. However, the 6MWT appears to be more responsive to the PTP proposed.

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