The 6 Minute Walk Test and You
About two months ago our own Charlene Marshall wrote a forum topic on the 6 minute walk test. I am piggybacking off of her topic for this forum post. In reading forum replies, I felt there were some who had different experiences with their walk test and needed answers. Yesterday while reading a Facebook post from a pulmonary fibrosis group, a post came up about the 6 minute walk test. The post included The American Thoracic Society’s (ATS) guidelines for administering the 6 minute walk test. I feel this document can explain some of the inconsistencies in forum member’s experiences. Although centers administer the test differently the expected outcome shall remain valid if they use the protocol instituted by the ATS.
From my own experience I hated it, but it was necessary for me to receive a transplant. I had to walk 575 ft. using as much supplemental oxygen as I needed. No matter what I knew I was going to walk the required distance. For my last walk I required 25 liters of o2 but I walked over 1300 ft. Shortly after my last walk I received my transplant. Even though I had trouble walking, I participated in phase 3 pulmonary rehab; this was rehab on my own. All of my exercises were completed while sitting down. I focused on my legs, riding the bike and using the weight machines to strengthen my legs. I also used the weight machines to build up my strength in my upper body.
The staff at the gym I went to were very accommodating and would bring my tanks in when needed. I feel the work I did in the gym spoke to my desire to receive a transplant. I looked at the walk test as a hurdle I must overcome. Thankfully I was able to perform well on the test and meet requirements. I have attached the article below. Please read and comment if you desire. Thank you.
For our forum members who have experienced the 6 minute walk test, can you identify with the protocols set for the by the ATS?
How did you prepare for the test?
Did your supplemental oxygen needs rise as you exerted yourself?
If you tested at more than one facility, how did they differ?
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