Objective: The 6-minute walk test is a common outcome measure in clinical trials of people with lower extremity peripheral artery disease (PAD). However, what constitutes a meaningful change in the 6-minute walk distance has not been well defined for people with PAD. The present study related the change in the 6-minute walk distance to the degree of participant-reported improvement or decline in the 6-minute walk distance to define a meaningful change in the 6-minute walk distance for those with PAD. Methods: Participants with PAD from three observational longitudinal studies completed the walking impairment questionnaire (WIQ) distance score and 6-minute walk at baseline and 1 year later. The WIQ distance score measures participants' perceived difficulty walking seven different distances without stopping (ranging from walking around the home to walking 5 blocks) on a 0 to 4 Likert scale, with 0 representing an inability to walk the distance and 4 representing no difficulty. The mean changes in the 6-minute walk distance corresponding to the participants' report of no change, 1-unit change, or 2-unit change, respectively, in the Likert scale score between the baseline and 1-year follow-up measures were calculated for each WIQ distance. Results: A total of 777 participants with PAD (mean age, 71.2 ± 8.8 years; mean baseline 6-minute walk distance, 350.1 ± 118.1 meters) completed 5439 questions about their difficulty walking each WIQ distance at baseline and follow-up. Participants with PAD who reported no change in their difficulty in walking each WIQ distance between baseline and follow-up had a decline of 7.2 meters (95% confidence interval [CI], −11.6 to −2.8 meters) in the 6-minute walk test. Relative to those reporting no change in difficulty walking, the participants reporting 1- and 2-point improvements in walking ability showed 6-minute walk distance improvements of 7.8 meters (95% CI, −0.3 to 15.9 meters) and 20.1 meters (95% CI, 1.1-39.2 meters), respectively. Relative to those reporting no change in walking difficulty, those reporting 1- and 2-point declines in perceived walking difficulty showed declines of −11.2 meters (95% CI, −19.0 to −3.4 meters) and −23.8 meters (95% CI, −37.4 to −10.3 meters) in the 6-minute walk distance. Conclusions: Among people with PAD, ∼8- and ∼20-meter improvements in the 6-minute walk distance represent small and large improvements in walking ability, respectively. People with PAD who reported no change in their ability to walk distances over 1 year simultaneously declined by a mean of 7 meters in the 6-minute walk test. These findings will be useful for interpreting the results from randomized trials of interventions to improve the walking performance of people with PAD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine