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The first reference equations for the 6-minute walk distance over a 10 m course
  1. Emmylou Beekman1,2,3,
  2. Ilse Mesters1,2,
  3. Rik Gosselink4,5,
  4. Mariska P M Klaassen6,
  5. Erik J M Hendriks7,
  6. Onno C P Van Schayck8,
  7. Rob A de Bie1,2
  1. 1Department of Epidemiology, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  2. 2Centre for Evidence Based Physiotherapy, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  3. 3Physical Therapy Section in Multidisciplinary Centre, ParaMedisch Centrum Sittard Zuid, Sittard, The Netherlands
  4. 4Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  5. 5Department of Respiratory Rehabilitation and Respiratory Division, University Hospital Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  6. 6Departement of Rehabilitation, University Centre for Chronic Diseases Dekkerswald (UCCZ), Groesbeek, The Netherlands
  7. 7Physical Therapy Practice, Fysiotherapie Maasstaete, Druten, The Netherlands
  8. 8Department of Family Medicine, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Emmylou Beekman, Department of Epidemiology, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, Maastricht 6200 MD, The Netherlands; E.Beekman{at}


Rationale As primary care practice space is mostly limited to 10 m, the 6-minute walk test (6MWT) over a 10 m course is a frequently used alternative to evaluate patients’ performance in COPD. Considering that course length significantly affects distance walked in 6 minutes (6MWD), this study aims to develop appropriate reference equations for the 10 m 6MWT.

Methods 181 healthy subjects, aged 40–90 years, performed two standardised 6MWTs over a straight 10 m course in a cross-sectional study.

Results Average distance achieved was 578±108 m and differed between males and females (p<0.001). Resulting sex-specific reference equations from multiple regression analysis included age, body mass index and change in heart rate, explaining 62% of the variance in 6MWD for males and 71% for females.

Conclusions The presented reference equations are the first to evaluate 6MWD over a 10 m course and expand the usefulness of the 6MWT.

  • Clinical Epidemiology
  • COPD Epidemiology
  • Exercise
  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation
  • Systemic Disease and Lungs
  • Emphysema
  • Empyema
  • Respiratory Measurement
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