An official European Respiratory Society/American Thoracic Society technical standard: field walking tests in chronic respiratory disease

Eur Respir J. 2014 Dec;44(6):1428-46. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00150314. Epub 2014 Oct 30.


Field walking tests are commonly employed to evaluate exercise capacity, assess prognosis and evaluate treatment response in chronic respiratory diseases. In recent years, there has been a wealth of new literature pertinent to the conduct of the 6-min walk test (6MWT), and a growing evidence base describing the incremental and endurance shuttle walk tests (ISWT and ESWT, respectively). The aim of this document is to describe the standard operating procedures for the 6MWT, ISWT and ESWT, which can be consistently employed by clinicians and researchers. The Technical Standard was developed by a multidisciplinary and international group of clinicians and researchers with expertise in the application of field walking tests. The procedures are underpinned by a concurrent systematic review of literature relevant to measurement properties and test conduct in adults with chronic respiratory disease. Current data confirm that the 6MWT, ISWT and ESWT are valid, reliable and responsive to change with some interventions. However, results are sensitive to small changes in methodology. It is important that two tests are conducted for the 6MWT and ISWT. This Technical Standard for field walking tests reflects current evidence regarding procedures that should be used to achieve robust results.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Europe
  • Exercise Test / standards*
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology
  • Humans
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / physiopathology
  • Societies, Medical
  • United States
  • Walking*