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6MWT in Heart Failure

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Dr KK Aggarwal, Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Group    19 December 2017

impact quality-of-life (QoL) of the patient. Exercise improves well-being in heart failure. ESC (2016) and AHA/ACC (2013) heart failure guidelines recommend exercise to improve functional capacity, QoL and also to reduce the risk of hospitalization in stable HF patients (Class IA). The 6-minute walk test (6MWT) assesses functional capacity or exercise tolerance in patients with HF and defines prognosis.

A 6-minute walk distance <200 m indicates lower functional capacity and carries a poor prognosis. If the walk distance is more than 500 m, the prognosis is good. If the 6-minute walk distance ranges between 200 m and 500 m, patient can continue to exercise with oxygen supplementation. Oxygen saturation during 6MWT also has prognostic significance. A fall in oxygen saturation (SpO2) during 6MWT of more than 4% indicates significant desaturation and is a predictor of mortality.

The aim should be to increase exercise tolerance even if using oxygen supplementation.

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