caret icon Back to all discussions

6 minute walk test

Could some of you share your experience of having the 6 minute walk test?

I'm new here and will be sharing more in later posts, but right now I am scheduled to have this test and I'm frightened, both about the test itself and the results.

I don't know what stage my COPD is at, but it's severe, and I feel pretty sure I will come away from the test being placed on oxygen therapy.

  1. It really helped me to be able to perform the 6-minute walk test without the tech walking beside me. My score was higher. I would chat non-stop with the tech, and that dropped my oxygen levels. I walked up, and down a hallway, and the tech just looked at me every so often. I couldn't do pierced mouth breathing if I talked nervously the whole time.


    1. Hi twovillages, and thanks for sharing your experience during the 6-minute walk test with the community - we appreciate your feedback.
      It even underscores just how differently this condition affects different people. Whereas for you, it would have been a disadvantage having the tech walk beside you, for our community member , she found it to be a big plus to have been accompanied on the walk!
      Wishing you well,
      Leon (site moderator COPD.net)

  2. Well, I had the dreaded walk test today and it was not bad at all!
    The nurse or tech walked right with me the whole time, asking if I was ok and periodically reading the pulse oximeter on my finger. My oxygen level didn't drop below 94. It didn't seem to take 6 minutes.
    The doc said from that result he wouldn't be putting me on oxygen. I do have times when my oxygen will go into the 80s, trying to do certain chores and sometimes it seems for little reason.
    I didn't know they were also going to do spirometry so I had used my albuterol inhaler and ipratropium albuterol combo in my nebulizer this morning. (I would have been terrified to even try to go if I hadn't. ) They said it didn't matter and did the spirometry anyway, using a little handheld gadget. The doc gave me a printout of the results, but I wouldn't know what information to share here.
    But when I asked the doc how he would stage my COPD, he said from the spirometry he would say between Stage 2 and Stage 3. I tend to think Stage 3, and was steeled for worse.


    1. Hi again, Shadygrove, and thanks so much for following up now that you've had the 6-minute walk test earlier today. See? Even though I remember how frightened of this you were, it turned out not to be so bad after all! The fact the nurse / tech stayed by your side during the procedure may have helped to put your mind at ease and enabled you to perform without the anxiety. Between the 6-minute walk test, and the PFT diagnostic study, I imagine your next visit with the physician will provide you with a more comprehensive analysis of your condition. With that, there should be a plan of treatment and a medication regimen.
      You must be so relieved to have this study behind you now!
      Wishing you well,
      Leon (site moderator COPD.net)

    2. Looks like you have mastered the 6-minute walk test. I am Stage 4 COPD and feared that test as well the first time, as we all fear the unknown. They booked some new tests coming up for me and one was a 30min walk test. I immediately felt the shiver go down my back, cause how could I possibly walk that long.
      * This is just how long they book the appointment to last and not how long I have to walk. HaHa
      I'm glad you are stacking small victories and sounds like your doing well at these tests. Please keep us informed of how you're making out with your appointments as we learn and support each other. Hope you have a wonderful day, stay cool. Jeff ( Team COPD.net)

  3. Hi! I hear you! I am at the very severe stage, and have been doing 6 minute walk tests usually every six months for several years. My pulmonologist's staff sets out cones down a long hallway, and you just walk, holding a pulse oximeter with a large readout, end to end, as long as you can, or until six minutes are up. You walk at your own pace. Since I use oxygen to sleep, I use it for the test. It lets me go farther than I would be able to without it.


    The last several I have not been able to complete. I have dreaded going because of it, even though it's not for punishment, and there is no failure. The test is strictly to measure how far you can get before you are out of breath.


    The nurse jots it down, and the doctor compares it to the last time, or uses it as a baseline. The last time, the doc said I went farther in less time. Have no idea what that means in medical terms, but it sounds good.


    However, I have been walking on a treadmill for a couple months, and I am now able to walk for 8 minutes. I have my next appointment the end of July, and I don't dread it.


    By the way, welcome to the group. You will find lots of important info, friendly voices, and interesting stories. It is addictive. Please let me know how it goes.

    1. ,
      Thank you for your very informative reply. You did a great job of sharing info that helps me understand a little more about what to expect with the test, and I appreciate your taking the time to share.
      Your treadmill workouts sound as if they are helping you and I am glad you don't dread your next walk test.
      Do you normally use your oxygen only to sleep?

    2. I replied to you last night. Not sure where that went! Anyway, I use the oxygen normally for sleeping, or exertion like vacuuming. I also use a portable when I go out, just in case.

  4. My test is scheduled for June 28.

    1. Mine is July 27. Will let you know how it goes.

    2. @

or create an account to reply.