Prediction of mortality and morbidity with a 6-minute walk test in patients with left ventricular dysfunction. SOLVD Investigators
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OBJECTIVE: To study the potential usefulness of the 6-minute walk test, a self-paced submaximal exercise test, as a prognostic indicator in patients with left ventricular dysfunction. DESIGN: Data were collected during a prospective cohort study, the Studies of Left Ventricular Dysfunction (SOLVD) Registry Substudy. SETTING: Twenty tertiary care hospitals in the United States, Canada, and Belgium. PARTICIPANTS: A stratified random sample of 898 patients from the SOLVD Registry who had either radiological evidence of congestive heart failure and/or an ejection fraction of 0.45 or less were enrolled in the substudy and underwent a detailed clinical evaluation including a 6-minute walk test. Patients were followed up for a mean of 242 days. OUTCOME MEASURES: Mortality and hospitalization. RESULTS: During follow-up, 52 walk-test participants (6.2%) died and 252 (30.3%) were hospitalized. Hospitalization for congestive heart failure occurred in 78 participants (9.4%), and the combined endpoint of death or hospitalization for congestive heart failure occurred in 114 walk-test participants (13.7%). Compared with the highest performance level, patients in the lowest performance level had a significantly greater chance of dying (10.23% vs 2.99%; P = .01), of being hospitalized (40.91% vs 19.90%; P = .002), and of being hospitalized for heart failure (22.16% vs 1.99%; P < .0001). In a logistic regression model, ejection fraction and distance walked were equally strong and independent predictors of mortality and heart failure hospitalization rates during follow-up. CONCLUSION: The 6-minute walk test is a safe and simple clinical tool that strongly and independently predicts morbidity and mortality in patients with left ventricular dysfunction.
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