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Minerva Pediatr. 2019 Jun;71(3):229-234. doi: 10.23736/S0026-4946.18.05185-X.

Comparing modalities of conducting the six-minute walk test in healthy children and adolescents.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, Hospital Ostallgäu-Kaufbeuren, Kaufbeuren, Germany - markus.rauchenzauner@kliniken-oal-kf.de.
2
Department of Pediatrics, Medical University Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria - markus.rauchenzauner@kliniken-oal-kf.de.
3
Division of Cardiology, Pulmology, Allergology, and Cystic Fibrosis, Department of Pediatrics, Medical University Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.
4
Medical University Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.
5
Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Birmingham Children's Hospital, Birmingham, UK.
6
Department of Medical Statistics, Informatics and Health Economics, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.
7
Department of Pediatrics, Hospital Bruneck, Bruneck, Italy.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The 6-minute walk test (6MWT) in children can be performed in the conventional way, or by using a measuring wheel. This study aimed to compare these test modalities and to determine influencing factors.

METHODS:

The study included 317 healthy children (172 boys) between 6 and 15 years from elementary schools and high schools, who were randomly assigned to perform a 6MWT either with or without a measuring wheel according to the guidelines of the American Thoracic Society. The 6-minute walk distance (6MWD) was compared between the two measuring modalities as well as different school types.

RESULTS:

The use of a measuring wheel during the 6MWT led to a significantly greater 6MWD compared to conventional walking. Students of sports schools walked substantially farther than those attending general high schools, irrespective of test modality. In multivariate regression analysis height, post-test heart rate, male sex and the measuring wheel itself were all independently associated with greater 6MWD.

CONCLUSIONS:

The use of a measuring wheel during a 6MWT reflects physical performance in children and adolescents more accurately as it includes the stretch of way around the cones during lap turns. Test modalities and sports background should be taken into account, especially when performing longitudinal monitoring and multicenter studies.

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