Prognostic usefulness of the six-minute walk in patients with advanced congestive heart failure secondary to ischemic or nonischemic cardiomyopathy

Am J Cardiol. 2001 Nov 1;88(9):987-93. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9149(01)01975-0.


Clinicians have relied on history and results from physical examinations to guide treatment of patients with advanced congestive heart failure, but these results may not reflect disease severity or hemodynamic status. We assessed how the distance walked in 6 minutes relates to clinical outcomes and symptoms of such patients. We compared the rates of death, hospitalization, and their composite at 1 year by the distance walked in 6 minutes at baseline and at 1 month, and by the change in distance between baseline and 1 month in 440 patients enrolled in a randomized trial. We also assessed the relations of baseline distance walked to symptom score and New York Heart Association class. The median distance increased from 218 m at baseline to 280 m at 1 month. Of 365 patients able to perform the baseline walk, 121 (33%) died and 217 (60%) were hospitalized compared with 46 (61%) and 34 (45%) of 75 patients unable to walk at baseline. Baseline distance significantly predicted mortality (hazard ratio 0.58/100-m increase, 95% confidence interval 0.50 to 0.68, p <0.001), even after adjustment. Baseline distance also significantly predicted hospitalization and the composite end point, as did the 1-month distance walked. The change in distance walked from baseline to 1 month did not predict any end point. Baseline distance correlated only moderately with symptom score (r = -0.385, p <0.001) and New York Heart Association class (r = -0.468, p <0.001). Distance walked during 6 minutes independently and strongly predicts mortality and hospitalization in patients with advanced congestive heart failure. This may be a simple, noninvasive, objective way to risk-stratify these patients and standardize their treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cardiomyopathies / complications*
  • Cardiomyopathies / physiopathology
  • Exercise Test / methods*
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / etiology
  • Heart Failure / mortality*
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Ischemia / complications
  • Myocardial Ischemia / physiopathology
  • Prognosis
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Assessment