Introduction: The six-minute walk test (6WT) has been proposed to be a submaximal test, but could actually demand a high level of exercise intensity from the patient, expressed by a respiratory quotient >1.0, following the guideline recommendations. Standardizing the 6WT using the Borg scale was proposed to make sure that all patients undergo a submaximal walking test.
Purpose: To test the reproducibility of the six-minute treadmill cardiopulmonary walk test (6CWT) using the Borg scale and to make sure that all patients undergo a submaximal test.
Methods: Twenty-three male heart failure patients (50+/-9 years) were included; these patients had both ischemic (5) and non-ischemic (18) heart failure with a left ventricle ejection fraction of 23+/-7%, were diagnosed as functional class NYHA II-III and were undergoing optimized drug therapy. Patients were guided to walk at a pace between "relatively easy and slightly tiring" (11 and 13 on Borg scale). The 6CWT using the Borg scale was performed two times on a treadmill with zero inclination and patient control of speed with an interval of 24 hours. During the sixth minute, we analyzed ventilation (VE, L/min), respiratory quotient, Oxygen consumption (VO2, ml/kg/min), VE/VCO2 slope, heart rate (HR, bpm), systolic blood pressure (SBP, mmHg), diastolic (DBP, mmHg) blood pressure and distance.
Results: The intraclass correlation coefficients at the sixth minute were: HR (r i=0.96, p<0.0001), VE (r i=0.84, p<0.0001), SBP (r i=0.72, p=0.001), distance (r i=0.88, p<0.0001), VO2 (r i=0.92, p<0.0001), SlopeVE/VCO2 (r i=0.86, p<0.0001) and RQ<1 (r i=0.6, p=0.004).
Conclusion: Using the 6CWT with the Borg scale was reproducible, and it seems to be an appropriate method to evaluate the functional capacity of heart failure patients while making sure that they undergo a submaximal walking test.