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Influence of step length on 6-minute walk test performance in patients with chronic heart failure

Pepera, Garyfallia K.; Sandercock, Gavin R.; Sloan, Rebecca; Cleland, John J.F.; Ingle, Lee; Clark, Andrew L.


Garyfallia K. Pepera

Gavin R. Sandercock

Rebecca Sloan

John J.F. Cleland

Andrew L. Clark


Objective: To investigate the influence of gait parameters including step length and walking speed during performance of the 6-minute walking test (6MWT) in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF). Design: Observational study. Setting: Specialist heart failure clinic. Participants: Patients with CHF and aged-matched, apparently healthy controls. Interventions: Each patient and control performed a 6MWT following a standardised protocol in a 15. m corridor. The number of steps (defined as step from left foot to right foot) taken every 15. m was counted, and reported as minute-by-minute changes in 6MWT performance. In addition, minute-by-minute changes in time taken to complete 15. m and mean walking speed throughout the test were calculated. Main outcome measures: Walking speed and step length. Results: Thirty patients with CHF {87% males; mean age 75 [standard deviation (SD) 8] years} and 10 healthy controls [80% males; mean age 77 (SD 11) years] undertook the 6MWT. For the CHF group, the mean distance walked was 309 (SD 48). m and the peak Borg score was 12 (SD 1). For the controls, the mean distance walked was 334 (SD 138). m and the peak Borg score was 12 (SD 1). Patients with CHF showed no significant minute-by-minute changes in step length or walking speed over the course of the 6MWT. In the first 5. minutes, healthy controls had a longer step length and faster walking speed than patients with CHF [step length: mean difference in the first minute was 0.03. m, 95% confidence interval (CI) of the difference 0.01 to 0.05. m; P= 0.02; walking speed: mean difference in the first minute 0.04. m/second, 95% CI of the difference 0.02 to 0.07. m/second; P= 0.01]. A multiple linear regression analysis demonstrated that body mass index (P= 0.02) was the most important predictor of 6MWT performance. Conclusion: Patients with CHF have a shorter step length and walk more slowly than controls during the 6MWT. Altered gait mechanics may contribute to limited exercise capacity in patients with CHF. © 2011 Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2012-12
Journal Physiotherapy (United Kingdom)
Print ISSN 0031-9406
Electronic ISSN 1873-1465
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 98
Issue 4
Pages 325-329
APA6 Citation Pepera, G. K., Sandercock, G. R., Sloan, R., Cleland, J. J., Ingle, L., & Clark, A. L. (2012). Influence of step length on 6-minute walk test performance in patients with chronic heart failure. Physiotherapy, 98(4), 325-329.
Keywords Walking; Functional capacity; Fatigue; Speed; CHF
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