Assessing Function: Six Minute Walk Test (6MWT)

The 6MWT is widely used in clinical practice. Variables measured during the 6MWT have been linked to increased risk of mortality in IPF. For example, several studies have shown that desaturation during the 6MWT, delayed heart-rate recovery, and shorter walk distance have been associated with increased IPF mortality rate.1023242526

Despite its wide use in clinical practice, the prognostic value of the 6MWT is limited because the procedure is not standardized in patients with IPF. Therefore, the ATS/ERS/JRS/ALAT guidelines do not recommend for or against routine clinical use of the 6MWT purely to monitor the progression of IPF.1 However, monitoring for oxygen desaturation in patients with substantial exercise intolerance is warranted to determine the need for supplemental oxygen and is recommended.1

Content contributed by:
Ryan Hadley, MD
University of Michigan