JOURNAL ARTICLE

Reliability of the walking energy cost test and the six-minute walk test in boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy

J C E Kempen, J Harlaar, A J van der Kooi, I J M de Groot, J C van den Bergen, E H Niks, J J G M Verschuuren, M A Brehm
Neuromuscular Disorders: NMD 2014, 24 (3): 216-21
24365209
The walking energy cost test (WECT) is a useful tool when measuring ambulatory function in children with motor disorders. However, data on the reliability of this test in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is not available. In this study we established the reliability of the WECT and the commonly used six-minute walk test (6MWT) in 19 boys with DMD, aged 6-12years. Participants performed the WECT and 6MWT twice within three weeks. Reliability was determined for walking distance (D, m) and gross energy cost (EC, Jkg(-1)m(-1)), using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC2,1) and smallest detectable change (SDC). Reliability for walking distance was good, with an ICC of 0.92 [95% CI: 0.81-0.97] and 0.83 [CI: 0.53-0.94] for the 6MWT and WECT, respectively, and an ICC of 0.85 [CI: 0.64-0.94] for gross EC. SDCs were 12.2% for D6MWT, 12.7% for DWECT and 18.5% for gross EC. In conclusion, in young boys with DMD, the reliability of both the WECT and 6MWT for assessing walking distance is adequate. Gross EC, as assessed with the WECT is also reliable and sufficiently sensitive to detect change in walking strain following interventions at group level.

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