Measurement Properties of the 6-Minute Walk Test in Individuals Undergoing Post-Stroke Rehabilitation







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PURPOSE/HYPOTHESIS: The 6‐Minute Walk Test (6MWT) was originally designed and validated as a quick, inexpensive and safe test of functional exercise tolerance for individuals with cardiac or pulmonary disease. The 6MWT has since been used with a wide variety of patient populations, including individuals with stroke. The purpose of this study was to examine the test‐retest reliability and concurrent validity of the 6MWT with individuals post‐stroke who are undergoing in‐patient rehabilitation.

NUMBER OF SUBJECTS: Eighteen individuals undergoing in‐patient rehabilitation after a stroke participated. Mean age was 64.7 (std 13.9) years and mean time since stroke was 31.6 (std 18.7) days.

MATERIALS/METHODS: The 6MWT was administered on two occasions, separated by at least fours hours, within 72 hours of discharge. Additional outcome measures used to assess concurrent validity included gait velocity measured over a 5‐meter walk and the Functional Independence Measure (FIMTM), which were gathered within 48 hours of discharge. Reliability was analyzed using Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient (PPMCC), Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC2,1), Standard Error of the Measurement (SEM) and the minimal detectable change (MDC90.) Concurrent validity was analyzed using PPMCC and Spearman rho.

RESULTS: The 6MWT demonstrated good test‐retest reliability: PPMCC r=0.984 (p<0.000), ICC2, 1=0.99, SEM=11.0 meters and MDC90=25.7 meters. The 6MWT also exhibited good to moderate concurrent validity with gait velocity (r=0.945, p<0.000) the locomotion FIMTM (r=0.722, p=0.001), mobility FIMTM (r=0.704, p=0.001) and motor FIMTM (r=0.505, p=0.032).

CONCLUSIONS: The 6MWT is a reliable measure for individuals with a subacute stroke and it demonstrates concurrent validity with other measures of walking ability and function commonly used with this population.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Preliminary results suggest that the 6MWT is a clinically useful measure of walking ability for individuals in the subacute stage of recovery after stroke. Continued research regarding other measurement properties of the 6MWT should be conducted.


Medicine and Health Sciences


6-Minute Walk Test, Post-Stroke Rehabilitation, Test‐Retest

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