COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

The endurance shuttle walk test: an alternative to the six-minute walk test for the assessment of ambulatory oxygen

S M Revill, M Z Noor, G Butcher, M J Ward
Chronic Respiratory Disease 2010, 7 (4): 239-45
21084548
UK guidelines for domiciliary oxygen have suggested the six-minute walk test or shuttle walk tests as suitable functional measures for the clinical assessment of ambulatory oxygen (AO). To date, there is limited evidence that would support the use of shuttle walk tests as assessment tools for AO. The endurance shuttle walk test (ESWT) is used increasingly as an assessment tool within pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) but its potential as an investigative test for AO has not been explored. Using the same test for both PR and AO assessment is appealing since it would improve efficiency and act to standardise outcome measures in this patient population. The aim of this study was to examine the responsiveness and repeatability of the ESWT to AO and to compare the response with that of the six-minute walk test (6MWT). Twenty-three patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) performed, in random order, the ESWT and the 6MWT on air and whilst breathing AO. Oxygen saturation and Borg ratings of breathlessness and perceived exertion were recorded. On a third day, eleven patients repeated the ESWT with AO in order to measure repeatability. There was a significantly greater change in the ESWT with oxygen than the change recorded from the 6MWT (66 [91] vs 6 [28] m respectively; P < .05). When repeated on a separate day, the mean difference (95% CI) between distances walked on the ESWT with AO was 0.91 (-47, 49) m. The ESWT was more responsive than the 6MWT for detecting improvements in walking endurance whilst breathing AO.

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