Covid Recovery - 6 Minute Walk Test

Covid Recovery – 6 Minute Walk Test

Dr. Radha Kousadikar

Dr. Radha Kousadikar

Masters in Sports Physiotherapy
Masters in Sports Science & Technology

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After your treatment tenure, your RT-PCR test is negative and you were declared fit, but are you really free from the claws of COVID ? This disease leaves back some invisible damage which requires attention post your treatment.

For a person who has recovered after quarantining at home, there may have been less intense symptoms, but that does not mean we ignore the after effects on our lungs. 

The 6 min Walk Test is widely being recommended to assess your “ As is” status and also measuring improvement during your recovery phase.

What is the 6 Minute Walk Test?

It is essentially an exercise based test used to assess endurance levels in patients with pulmonary conditions. The 6MWT is inexpensive, easily applicable, and repeatable as a test that is well-tolerated by patients with pulmonary conditions.

It is a widely accepted valid measure of symptomatic improvement in a patient who has pulmonary conditions. It also helps in planning a personalised intensity program for a patient who has recovered from COVID. 

* Please turn on you Audio to hear the operational instructions.

Equipment Required

  • Stopwatch. You can use the stop watch on your mobile phone.
  • 10-metre stretch of unimpeded walkway . If you have longer distances at home they are ideal.
  • Pulse oximeter for measuring heart rate and SpO2
  • Blood Pressure measuring instrument
Covid Recovery

PATIENT INSTRUCTIONS

  • The object of this test is to walk as far as possible for 6 minutes. You will walk back and forth in your hallway or your pre identified space. Six minutes is a long time to walk, so you will be exerting yourself. You will probably get out of breath or become exhausted. You are permitted to slow down, to stop, and to rest as necessary. You may lean against the wall while resting, but resume walking as soon as you are able.
  • Do not perform the 6 min walk test, if your Resting Pulse is more than 120 Beats Per Min, or if your Blood Pressure is high! For Eg- if the blood pressure has shot upto 180/ 100 or so.
  • Your Systolic Blood Pressure usually increases as a normal response in patients with respiratory problems as well as in normal individuals after the 6MWT.

INTERPRETATIONS

  • An increase in the distance walked between 2 tests indicates improvement in basic mobility and this parameter is the most significant out come from the 6 Min Walk Test.
  • The baseline saturation (Pre Test) on Oximeter should not be below 94%
  • After six minutes, if the oxygen level does not go down the individual will be considered healthy. There is no need to worry even if the oxygen level dips by 1% or 2%.
  • If the oxygen level drops by more than 3%, this could be an indication of Oxygen Desaturation and the patient needs continued medical help.
  • If the Post Test SPO2 goes below 90%, it indicates a need for urgent medical care.
  • By splitting the test into six different components where each minute is a different data point, researchers discovered that the 6MWT can identify any malfunctions in the neuromuscular junctions. Also by comparing the distance covered in the first and the last minute suggested how much the fatigue has influenced the individual.

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  1. Pingback: Post Covid Exercise – Are You Ready?

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