60 Foot Walk Test Correlates With Heart Failure Symptoms

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kristie Harris, M.S. Doctoral Candidate, Department of Psychology Psychology Trainee, OSUWMC Department of Psychiatry Columbus, OH 43210

Ms. Harris

Kristie Harris, M.S.
Doctoral Candidate, Department of Psychology
Psychology Trainee, OSUWMC Department of Psychiatry
Columbus, OH 43210

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In patients with chronic diseases such as heart failure, treatment strategies and medical management often rely on clinician’s assessment of symptoms and impairments in functional status. The six-minute walk test (6MWT) is a validated and commonly-used measure for assessing functional status in this patient population and has the advantage of being self-paced and easily administered.

However, its clinical utility may be limited because it is time consuming, not suitable for patients with comorbidities that interfere with walking, and requires a long continuous hallway course. In this this study we report the development of an alternative measure of objective functional status, the sixty-foot walk test (60ftWT). For this task, patients are simply asked to walk four laps of 15 feet and the total time taken to walk the 60ft is recorded in seconds.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Among symptomatic heart failure patients, 60ftWT performance was strongly correlated with 6MWT performance, as well as the severity of patient-reported heart failure symptoms. Time taken to complete the 60ftWT also predicted subsequent heart failure related-hospitalization or all-cause death, with patients completing the test in greater than 31 seconds at highest risk. Further, preliminary results from this study suggest that compared to the 6MWT, the 60ftWT is less affected by comorbidities that could affect walking (e.g., gout, musculoskeletal abnormalities, peripheral vascular disease, diabetic neuropathy).

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: The 60ftWT provides an easily administered and accessible method for assessing functional status among patients with heart failure. It may be particularly beneficial for those patients with comorbid conditions that could affect walking for whom longer tests such as the 6MWT are less feasible. It also does not require a long continuous hallway course.

This novel assessment provides clinicians with an efficient measure that can be used to monitor symptom fluctuations and to identify those patients at greatest risk for future events. Early identification of these patients using the 60ftWT may allow for effective calibration of medical interventions that may reduce the need for hospitalization and lessen heart failure morbidity and mortality. Although the present study provides evidence for the utility of the 60ftWT, further validation of this method in other samples is required.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Before there can be widespread adoption of the 60ftWT, this method should be validated in other heart failure samples. We also need to better understand the learning effect and test-retest reliability for the measure. The test should also be studied in larger and more diverse samples of patients that vary by sex, ethnicity, exercise tolerance, and disease severity. Further, although data from this study suggests that the 60ftWT is well-tolerated among patients with walking-related comorbidities, more systematic study of the impact of these conditions on 60ftWT performance is needed.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: This study was supported by National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute grant 1R01 HL085730. The opinions and assertions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily express the views of Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences or the U.S. Department of Defense. All authors have reported that they have no relationships relevant to the contents of this paper to disclose.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.


A New Clinically Applicable Measure of Functional Status in Patients With Heart Failure
Kristie M. Harris, David S. Krantz, Willem J. Kop, Joanne Marshall, Shawn W. Robinson, Jennifer M. Marshall, Stephen S. Gottlieb
JACC: Heart Failure May 2017, 629; DOI: 10.1016/j.jchf.2017.02.005

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Last Updated on May 20, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD