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Validity & reliability of the 6 minute walk in persons with fibromyalgia (FM)

  [ 221 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • October 15, 1999

OBJECTIVE: To assess the reliability and construct validity of
the 6 minute walk (6MW) in persons with fibromyalgia (FM) and
to determine an equation for predicting peak oxygen
consumption (pVO2) from the distance covered in 6 minutes.

METHODS: Ninety-six women who met the American College of
Rheumatology (ACR) criteria for FM were tested on the 6MW and
the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ). A subset (n = 23)
were tested on a separate day for pVO2 during a
symptom-limited, incremental treadmill test. Twelve subjects
repeated the 6MW five times over 10 days. Heart rate and
rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were recorded for each
walk. Intraclass correlations were used to determine the
reliability of the 6MW. Validity was examined by correlating
the 6MW with pVO2 and the FIQ. Body mass index (BMI) and 6MW
were independent variables in a stepwise regression to predict

RESULTS: A significant increase in distance occurred
from Walk 1 to Walk 2 (p = 0.000) with the distance maintained
on the remaining walks (p = 0.148) The correlations of the 6MW
with the FIQ and pVO2 were -0.325 and 0.657, respectively. The
regression equation to predict pVO2 from 6MW distance and BMI
was: pVO2 (ml/kg/min) = 21.48 + (-0.4316 x BMI) + [0.0304 x
distance(m)] (R = 0.76, R2 = 0.66).

CONCLUSION: When using the
6MW it is necessary to conduct a practice walk, with the
second walk taken as the baseline measure. It was determined
from the correlations that the 6MW cannot replace the FIQ as a
measure of function. The 6MW may be used as an indicator of
aerobic fitness, although obtaining VO2 by means of a graded
exercise test is preferable.

King S, Wessel J, Bhambhani Y, Maikala R, Sholter D, Maksymowych W

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