6MWT (6 Minute Walk Test)


What is a 6MWT and what does it do?

The six-minute walk test (6MWT) measures the distance an individual is able to walk over a total of six minutes on a hard, flat surface. The goal is for the individual to walk as far as possible in six minutes. The individual is allowed to self-pace and rest as needed as they traverse back and forth along a marked walkway.

This test helps to determine if the patient’s oxygen saturation falls during exertion and to see if a patient qualifies for oxygen.

This test is also used for those patients already on oxygen to determine if they are at an adequate level.

Who performs the test?

The test is performed by a licensed Respiratory Therapist.

Where does it take place?

At Jackson Hospital in the Respiratory Department.

How long does it take?

30-45 minutes

What you can do to make it a success?

Please be sure to bring your doctor’s orders with you the day of your test. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment time to register.

What to do before your exam?

There are no special dietary restrictions for this study.

What happens during your exam?

Before the test, an oxygen saturation monitor (pulse ox) will be placed on your finger. This will be worn throughout the test. You will be walked on room air to see at what point your oxygen saturation starts to drop and to what level. Your saturation is only allowed to drop to a certain number before your walk will is stopped and oxygen is administered.

You will rest for a bit and then you will start your walk again. You will be questioned throughout your test about your level of fatigue and shortness of breath. This will help to determine how many liters of oxygen, for those patients already on oxygen, it takes to safely walk around.

For those patients not on oxygen, this test will determine the flow rate needed to keep oxygen saturation at a safe level.

What to do after your exam?

Your test results are documented on a log sheet that will be faxed to your physician. Once you feel OK, you are free to go. You may resume normal activity after your study. Your test will be reviewed by your physician and you be notified if there are adjustments that need to be made to your oxygen or if oxygen needs to be ordered for you.

Contact Information:

Hospital (main operator): (850) 526-2200
Respiratory Department (850) 718-2545