6 minute walk test is the simplest of all functional testing in cardiac evaluation . Though walking is a routine day to day motion , it is essentially a hemo-dynamic stress for the heart , especially so for an ailing heart . Even though it appears simplest of all investigation there are strict guidelines available for performing this .
It is surprising American thoracic society has come out with a specific guideline for this .Many of us are not aware of existence of such guideline , hence this post , with courtesy of ATS I am giving a link.
Guyatt G. H.,Sullivan M. J.,Thompson P. J.,(1985) The six-minute walk: a new measure of exercise capacity in patients with chronic heart failure. Can. Med. Assoc. J. 132:919–923.
Butland R. J. A.,Pang J.,Gross E. R.,(1982) Two, six, and 12 minute walking tests in respiratory disease. B.M.J. 284:1607–1608.
History and genesis of the concept
It was originally used in COPD in 1976 with a 12 minute walk .Cardiologists abbreviated it to 6 mts for their convenience.
McGavin CR, Gupta SP, McHardy GJR. Twelve minute walking test for assessing disability in chronic bronchitis. Br Med J 1976;i:822-3.