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Table 1 Key attributes and limitations of the 6-min walk test in patients with IPF

From: Utility of the six-minute walk test in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Attributes Limitations
• Easy and inexpensive to perform • Results affected by multiple factors
Age/sex/weight/height
Comorbidities that affect ability to walk or desaturation
Use of supplemental oxygen
Specific instructions given to patient, which may be affected by language barriers
Training effects
• Reproducible
• Replicates activities of daily living
• Provides a functional measure of the patient’s overall cardiopulmonary reserve
• 6MWD correlates with measures of lung function and HRQL
• 6MWD, and particularly decline in 6MWD, are strong predictors of mortality
• Provides no insight into mechanism/s of exercise limitation
• Unclear which parameter measured during 6MWT is of greatest prognostic value
• Use of different methodologies across studies hinders comparison of results
  1. 6MWD 6-min walk distance, 6MWT 6-min walk test, HRQL health-related quality of life