6-min walk test provides prognostic utility comparable to cardiopulmonary exercise testing in ambulatory outpatients with systolic heart failure

Academic Article


  • Objectives: The goal of this study was to compare the prognostic efficacy of the 6-min walk (6MW) and cardiopulmonary exercise (CPX) tests in stable outpatients with chronic heart failure (HF). Background: CPX and 6MW tests are commonly applied as prognostic gauges for systolic HF patients, but few direct comparisons have been conducted. Methods: Stable New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class II and III systolic HF patients (ejection fraction ≤35%) from the HF-ACTION (Heart Failure: A Controlled Trial Investigating Outcomes of Exercise Training) trial were studied. 6MW distance (6MWD) and CPX indices (peak oxygen consumption [VO2] and ventilatory equivalents for exhaled carbon dioxide [VE/VCO2] slope) were compared as predictors of all-cause mortality/hospitalization and all-cause mortality over 2.5 years of mean follow-up. Results: A total of 2,054 HF-ACTION participants underwent both CPX and 6MW tests at baseline (median age 59 years; 71% male; 64% NYHA functional class II and 36% NYHA functional class III/IV). In unadjusted models and in models that included key clinical and demographic covariates, C-indices of 6MWD were 0.58 and 0.65 (unadjusted) and 0.62 and 0.72 (adjusted) in predicting all-cause mortality/hospitalization and all-cause mortality, respectively. C-indices for peak VO2 were 0.61 and 0.68 (unadjusted) and 0.63 and 0.73 (adjusted). C-indices for VE/VCO2 slope were 0.56 and 0.65 (unadjusted) and 0.61 and 0.71 (adjusted); combining peak VO 2 and VE/VCO2 slope did not improve the C-indices. Overlapping 95% confidence intervals and modest integrated discrimination improvement values confirmed similar prognostic discrimination by 6MWD and CPX indices within adjusted models. Conclusions: In systolic HF outpatients, 6MWD and CPX indices demonstrated similar utility as univariate predictors for all-cause hospitalization/mortality and all-cause mortality. However, 6MWD or CPX indices added only modest prognostic discrimination to models that included important demographic and clinical covariates. © 2012 American College of Cardiology Foundation.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Forman DE; Fleg JL; Kitzman DW; Brawner CA; Swank AM; McKelvie RS; Clare RM; Ellis SJ; Dunlap ME; Bittner V
  • Start Page

  • 2653
  • End Page

  • 2661
  • Volume

  • 60
  • Issue

  • 25