The 6MWT gives an indication of the effectiveness of the combined operation of the heart, lungs, circulation and muscular function in performing activities of daily living. The test involves walking 30 meter laps of the corridor with an oximeter probe attached to your finger. The aim is to walk as far as you can in 6 minutes. You will likely get short of breath or even exhausted. It is permissible to stop and rest, but you are encouraged to catch your breath and continue as quickly as possible. If a walking aid such as stick or frame is normally used, it should be used in the test also.
Please advise the technician if you begin to experience any of the following symptoms during the test:
- Chest pain
- Intolerable shortness of breath
- Leg cramps
- Perspiring profusely
- Pale or clammy
If your oxygen level drops below a certain level, you will repeat the test with oxygen delivered through a nasal cannula. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask one of our friendly technicians.
What are the risks?
You will be exerting yourself during the test and likely to get short of breath, sweaty and tired. There can be a risk of exacerbating underlying conditions with exertion. You will be constantly monitored with trained staff with readily available medical equipment to manage any complications. A doctor is available if there are severe complications. The technician will measure your heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels prior to the test and will not proceed with the test if there is any evidence of high risk.
There are certain indications that will increase the risk of complications, so there are circumstances when the test should be delayed as listed below.
There are some contraindications associated with a Spirometry test which the CRS team will discuss with you before your test.
What happens next?
Upon completion of the procedure, the test results will be formulated and sent to your referring doctor and any additional doctor specified by you. You will need to arrange a follow up appointment with your referring doctor to discuss the results.