Evaluating the need for two incremental shuttle walk tests during a maintenance exercise program in people with COPD

This study’s aim was to determine if there was an increase in walk distance when two incremental shuttle walk tests (ISWTs) were performed at the beginning of a maintenance exercise program (0 month) and at three, six and 12-month assessments. A prospective, longitudinal, repeated measures study in COPD consisting of forty-eight participants (22 males) with COPD was conducted: [Baseline characteristics: mean (SD): FEV1 59 (19) % pred; age 65 (8) years; BMI 26 (6) (kg/m2)]. Participants completed two ISWTs at zero, three, six and twelve months. Incremental shuttle walk distance (ISWD) was measured. There was a considerable increase in walk distance between two ISWTs at zero month (17 metres (95% CI: 7 to 26) and three months (18 metres (95% CI: 6 to 30), but not at six or 12 months.


The study found that an increase in walk distance when a second ISWT was performed at zero and three months suggested the need to perform two ISWTs when participants are naïve to the test and at the three-month reassessment during a 12-month maintenance exercise program.