6-Min Walk Test Provides Prognostic Utility Comparable to Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing in Ambulatory Outpatients With Systolic Heart Failure Academic Article uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVES: The goal of this study was to compare the prognostic efficacy of the 6-min walk (6MW) and cardiopulmonary exercise (CPX) tests in stable outpatients with chronic heart failure (HF). BACKGROUND: CPX and 6MW tests are commonly applied as prognostic gauges for systolic HF patients, but few direct comparisons have been conducted. METHODS: Stable New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class II and III systolic HF patients (ejection fraction ≤ 35%) from the HF-ACTION (Heart Failure: A Controlled Trial Investigating Outcomes of Exercise Training) trial were studied. 6MW distance (6MWD) and CPX indices (peak oxygen consumption [VO(2)] and ventilatory equivalents for exhaled carbon dioxide [VE/VCO(2)] slope) were compared as predictors of all-cause mortality/hospitalization and all-cause mortality over 2.5 years of mean follow-up. RESULTS: A total of 2,054 HF-ACTION participants underwent both CPX and 6MW tests at baseline (median age 59 years; 71% male; 64% NYHA functional class II and 36% NYHA functional class III/IV). In unadjusted models and in models that included key clinical and demographic covariates, C-indices of 6MWD were 0.58 and 0.65 (unadjusted) and 0.62 and 0.72 (adjusted) in predicting all-cause mortality/hospitalization and all-cause mortality, respectively. C-indices for peak VO(2) were 0.61 and 0.68 (unadjusted) and 0.63 and 0.73 (adjusted). C-indices for VE/VCO(2) slope were 0.56 and 0.65 (unadjusted) and 0.61 and 0.71 (adjusted); combining peak VO(2) and VE/VCO(2) slope did not improve the C-indices. Overlapping 95% confidence intervals and modest integrated discrimination improvement values confirmed similar prognostic discrimination by 6MWD and CPX indices within adjusted models. CONCLUSIONS: In systolic HF outpatients, 6MWD and CPX indices demonstrated similar utility as univariate predictors for all-cause hospitalization/mortality and all-cause mortality. However, 6MWD or CPX indices added only modest prognostic discrimination to models that included important demographic and clinical covariates.


  • Forman, Daniel E
  • Fleg, Jerome L
  • Kitzman, Dalane W
  • Brawner, Clinton A
  • Swank, Ann M
  • McKelvie, Robert
  • Clare, Robert M
  • Ellis, Stephen J
  • Dunlap, Mark E
  • Bittner, Vera

publication date

  • December 2012