In adults with advanced lung disease, the 1-minute sit-to-stand test underestimates exertional desaturation compared with the 6-minute walk test: An observational study


Question: In adults with advanced lung disease, do the 6-minute walk test (6MWT) and 1-minute sit-to-stand test (1minSTS) elicit similar cardiorespiratory responses? Can the 6-minute walk distance (6MWD) be estimated from the 1minSTS result?

Design: Prospective observational study using data collected during routine clinical practice.

Participants: Eighty adults (43 males) with advanced lung disease, a mean age of 64 years (SD 10) and a mean forced expiratory volume in 1 second of 1.65 L (SD 0.77).

Outcome measures: Participants completed a 6MWT and a 1minSTS. During both tests, oxygen saturation (SpO2), pulse rate, dyspnoea and leg fatigue (Borg 0 to 10) were recorded.

Results: Compared with the 6MWT, the 1minSTS resulted in higher nadir SpO2 (MD 4%, 95% CI 3 to 5), lower end-test pulse rate (MD –4 beats/minute, 95% CI –6 to –1), similar dyspnoea (MD –0.3, 95% CI –0.6 to 0.1) and greater leg fatigue (MD 1.1, 95% CI 0.6 to 1.6). Among the participants who demonstrated severe desaturation (SpO2 nadir , 85%) on the 6MWT (n = 18), five and ten participants were classified as moderate (nadir 85 to 89%) or mild desaturators (nadir 90%), respectively, on the 1minSTS. The relationship between the 6MWD and 1minSTS was: 6MWD (m) = 247 1 (7 3 number of transitions achieved during the 1minSTS) with poor predictive ability (r2 = 0.44).

Conclusion: The 1minSTS elicited less desaturation than the 6MWT and classified a smaller proportion of people as ‘severe desaturators’ on exertion. It is therefore inappropriate to use the nadir SpO2 recorded during a 1minSTS to make decisions about whether strategies are needed to prevent severe transient exertional desaturation during walking-based exercise. Further, the extent to which performance on the 1minSTS can estimate a person’s 6MWD is poor. For these reasons, the 1minSTS is unlikely to be helpful when prescribing walking-based exercise.


exercise testing 6MWT, 1-min STS lung disease, physical therapy

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