The 6-minute walk test as a new outcome measure in Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Craig M McDonald, Erik K Henricson, Jay J Han, R Ted Abresch, Alina Nicorici, Gary L Elfring, Leone Atkinson, Allen Reha, Samit Hirawat, Langdon L Miller
Muscle & Nerve 2010, 41 (4): 500-10
Walking abnormalities are prominent in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). We modified the 6-minute walk test (6MWT) for use as an outcome measure in patients with DMD and evaluated its performance in 21 ambulatory boys with DMD and 34 healthy boys, ages 4 to 12 years. Boys with DMD were tested twice, approximately 1 week apart; controls were tested once. The groups had similar age, height, and weight. All tests were completed. Boys who fell recovered rapidly from falls without injury. Mean +/- SD [range] 6-minute walk distance (6MWD) was lower in boys with DMD than in controls (366 +/- 83 [125-481] m vs. 621 +/- 68 [479-754] m; P < 0.0001; unpaired t-test). Test-retest correlation for boys with DMD was high (r = 0.91). Stride length (R(2) = 0.89; P < 0.0001) was the major determinant of 6MWD for both boys with DMD and controls. A modified 6MWT is feasible and safe, documents disease-related limitations on ambulation, is reproducible, and offers a new outcome measure for DMD natural history and therapeutic trials.

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