Background: The six-minute walk test (6MWT) is considered to be a simple and inexpensive tool for the assessment of functional tolerance of submaximal effort. The aim of this work was 1) to background the nonlinear nature of the energy expenditure process due to physical activity, 2) to compare the results/scores of the submaximal treadmill exercise test and those of 6MWT in pulmonary patients and 3) to develop nonlinear mathematical models relating the two.
Methods: The study group included patients with the COPD. All patients were subjected to a submaximal exercise test and a 6MWT. To develop an optimal mathematical solution and compare the results of the exercise test and the 6MWT, the least squares and genetic algorithms were employed to estimate parameters of polynomial expansion and piecewise linear models.
Results: Mathematical analysis enabled to construct nonlinear models for estimating the MET result of submaximal exercise test based on average walk velocity (or distance) in the 6MWT.
Conclusions: Submaximal effort tolerance in COPD patients can be effectively estimated from new, rehabilitation-oriented, nonlinear models based on the generalized MET concept and the 6MWT.