The 6-minute walk test in Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophy: longitudinal observations

Muscle Nerve. 2010 Dec;42(6):966-74. doi: 10.1002/mus.21808.


In this study we used the 6-minute walk distance (6MWD) to characterize ambulation over time in Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophy (DBMD). The 6MWD was assessed in 18 boys with DBMD and 22 healthy boys, ages 4-12 years, over mean [range] intervals of 58 [39-87] and 69 [52-113] weeks, respectively. Height and weight increased similarly in both groups. At 52 weeks, 6MWD decreased in 12 of 18 (67%) DBMD subjects (overall mean [range]: 357 [125-481] to 300 [0-510] meters; Δ -57 meters, -15.9%), but increased in 14 of 22 (64%) healthy subjects (overall mean [range]: 623 [479-754] to 636 [547-717] meters; Δ +13 meters, +2.1%). Two DBMD subjects lost ambulation. Changes in 6MWD depended on stride length and age; improvements usually occurred by 7-8 years of age; older DBMD subjects worsened, whereas older healthy subjects were stable. The 6MWD changes at 1 year confirm the validity of this endpoint and emphasize that preserving ambulation must remain a major goal of DBMD therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Progression
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / physiopathology*
  • Walking / physiology*