6 MINUTE WALK TEST
The six-minute walk test (6MWT) measures the distance an individual is able to walk over a total of six minutes on a hard, flat surface. The goal is for the individual to walk as far as possible in six minutes. The individual is allowed to self-pace and rest as needed as they traverse back and forth along a marked walkway. This test helps to determine if the patient’s oxygen saturation falls during exertion and to see if a patient qualifies for oxygen.
Before the test, an oxygen saturation monitor (pulse ox) will be placed on your finger. This will be worn throughout the test.
You will be walked on room air to see at what point your oxygen saturation starts to drop and to what level. Your saturation is only allowed to drop to a certain number (88%) before your walk is stopped and oxygen is administered.
You will rest for a bit and then you will start your walk again. You will be questioned throughout your test about your level of fatigue and shortness of breath (using a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the worst). This will help to determine how many liters of oxygen it takes to safely walk around.
For those patients not already on oxygen, this test will determine the flow rate needed to keep oxygen saturation at a safe level while ambulating.
(Hallway used for 6 minute walks at Pulmonary Associates of Saint Augustine)