What Is the Six-Minute Walk Test?
The six-minute walk test is used to monitor patients with chronic lung diseases such as pulmonary hypertension (PH). It’s often part of the screening and diagnosis process and patients with the condition may have to regularly undergo the test to monitor the disease’s progression.
According to Pulmonary Hypertension Network Australia, the six-minute walking test is usually performed at the cardiologist’s or pulmonologist’s office and involves the patient walking up and down a long marked passageway for six minutes. The doctor will see how far the patient can walk up and down the passageway in six minutes.
The patient will have their vitals taken before and after the test so that doctors can make comparisons to determine the patient’s tolerance for exercise. The patient will also wear a pulse oximeter while performing the test so that doctors can monitor their pulse and oxygen saturation.
The patients can stop at any time during the six minutes, but the clock will continue to run. Patients may use oxygen if they need it along with assistive equipment such as a walking frame or canes.
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