Six-minute walk test

The 6 minute test is used to measure the distance a person can walk on a flat, hard surface for a period of six minutes.

A six-minute walk test can provide accurate information about the levels of oxygen in your blood

Why do I need a six minute walk test?

Your consultant may request a six-minute walk test for you to determine whether you need additional oxygen when exercising. In some situations, the test can provide the best information about your ability to perform routine activities.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    Before the test begins your consultant will explain the test to you in detail and can answer any questions you have. A probe is put on your finger through which information about your blood oxygen levels is recorded. You'll then be asked to walk for six minutes. The test will take approximately half an hour to complete, although this may vary slightly depending on your oxygen levels during the test.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    In preparation for your six-minute walk test you should:

    • continue to take all medications as normal
    • not wear nail varnish to your appointment
    • bring any walking aid (e.g. stick) that you regularly use when walking
    • bring any oxygen prescribed to you for use whilst walking outside the house
  • Afterwards icon plus

    You'll be able to return to normal activities immediately following the test. Your consultant will share the results of the test with you.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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