Validation of test performance characteristics and minimal clinically important difference of the 6-minute walk test in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Steven D Nathan, Roland M du Bois, Carlo Albera, Williamson Z Bradford, Ulrich Costabel, Alex Kartashov, Paul W Noble, Steven A Sahn, Dominique Valeyre, Derek Weycker, Talmadge E King
Respiratory Medicine 2015, 109 (7): 914-22

BACKGROUND: The 6-minute walk test distance (6MWD) has been shown to be a valid and responsive outcome measure in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). The analyses were based, however, on a single phase 3 trial and require validation in an independent cohort.

OBJECTIVE: To confirm the performance characteristics and estimates of minimal clinically important difference (MCID) of 6MWD in an independent cohort of patients with IPF.

METHODS: Patients randomized to placebo in the phase 3 CAPACITY trials who had a baseline 6MWD measurement were included in these analyses. The 6MWD and other functional parameters (lung function, dyspnea, and health-related quality of life) were measured at baseline and 24-week intervals. Validity and responsiveness were examined using Spearman correlation coefficients. The MCID was estimated using distribution- and anchor-based methods.

RESULTS: The analysis comprised 338 patients. Baseline 6MWD was significantly correlated with lung function measures, patient-reported outcomes, and quality-of-life measures (validity). Compared with baseline 6MWD, change in 6MWD (responsiveness) showed stronger correlations with change in lung function parameters and quality-of-life measures. Dyspnea measured by the University of California San Diego Shortness of Breath Questionnaire showed the strongest correlations with 6MWD (baseline: coefficient -0.35; 48-week change: coefficient -0.37; both p < 0.001). The distribution-based analyses of MCID using standard error of measurement yielded an MCID of 37 m, and distribution-based analyses by effect size resulted in 29.2 m. The MCID by anchor-based analysis using criterion referencing (health events of hospitalization or death) was 21.7 m.

CONCLUSIONS: The 6MWD is a valid and responsive clinical endpoint, which provides objective and clinically meaningful information regarding functional status and near-term prognosis. These results confirm previous findings in an independent cohort of patients with IPF.

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