The 6-min walking test early after cardiac surgery. Reference values and the effects of rehabilitation programme

Claudia Fiorina, Enrico Vizzardi, Roberto Lorusso, Marcello Maggio, Giuseppe De Cicco, Savina Nordari, Pompilio Faggiano, Livio Dei Cas

The aims of this study were to determine the feasibility of the 6 minute walk test (6MWT) as a measure of cardiac rehabilitation and to investigate the influence of relevant clinical and demographic variables on walking performance in adults and older patients. Eighty-four percent of the participants completed the 6MWT within 15 days after cardiac surgery (9 ± 2 days). The subjects had undergone either coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) 67%, valve replacement 25%, CABG and valve replacement 4% or other cardiac surgery 4%.

The findings suggest that the 6MWT is well tolerated in adult patients soon after cardiac surgery. The distance walked was inversely related to age, was significantly greater for men, and was lower in patients with diabetes and in those having had valve surgery. It was not different between patients with preserved LVEF (>50%) or depressed LVEF (<50%). Eighty-five percent of patients showed a significant improvement in distance walked following a short duration (15 ± 3 days) cardiac rehabilitation programme.

European Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery 2007; 32: 724 – 729

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