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

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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