BACKGROUND: Exercise capacity is evaluated using the 6-minute walk test in various diseases. Variety in the distances walked was also shown in healthy subjects. Moreover, age-related influences on cardiac hemodynamic response to the 6-minute walk test have not been clarified. The purpose of this study was thus to investigate the hemodynamic response to the 6-minute walk test and to detect factors related to the distance walked in healthy subjects. METHODS: Thirteen young adults (age 20.5 +/- 0.7 years, BMI 22.0 +/- 4.3) and 26 elderly individuals (age 60.2 +/- 6.1 years, BMI 21.7 +/- 2.2) were enrolled to measure real-time hemodynamic responses using non-invasive impedance cardiography during the 6-minute walk test. RESULTS: Stroke volume was higher in the young than in the elderly and reached a plateau within 30 s of starting to walk in all subjects. An increase in heart rate took more than 1 min in the elderly, while it took less than 30 s in the young, which resulted in slower increases in cardiac output and cardiac index in the elderly. There was no difference in the distance in the 6-minute walk test between the young and the elderly. The distance walked was correlated with heart rate, cardiac output, and cardiac index, but not with stroke volume, at the end of the 6-minute walk test. CONCLUSIONS: The distance walked appeared to depend on increased cardiac output based on heart rate, but did not appear to be limited by stroke volume, in healthy subjects.
Someya, F., Mugii, N., & Oohata, S. (2015). Cardiac hemodynamic response to the 6-minute walk test in young adults and the elderly. BMC Research Notes, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13104-015-1331-5