Study objective: To describe variability in the conduct
of walk tests in pulmonary rehabilitation programs.
Design: Analysis of information obtained by means of a
structured written questionnaire.
pulmonary rehabilitation programs in the United States and Canada.
Participants: Clinical coordinators of 75 pulmonary
Results: Timed walk tests were obtained in 71 of 99
programs surveyed. Considerable variability in all aspects of testing
practices was evident. Fifty-seven respondents (80%) based results on
a single walk. Walk tests were completed in a hallway (73%), on a
walking track (9%), and on a treadmill (7%). In 29 programs (44%), a
walk supervisor carried or pulled the oxygen source, while in 25
programs (38%), the oxygen was carried or pulled by the patient.
Informal nonstandardized instructions were provided to patients prior
to walking in 41 programs (58%). In 53 programs (76%), the walk
supervisor could direct a patient to speed up, to slow down, or to
rest. Evaluations of breathlessness and perceived exertion were
measured during the walk by 73% and 16% of programs,
Conclusions: Practices regarding
performance of timed walk tests are poorly standardized among pulmonary
rehabilitation programs. Further research is needed to evaluate the
impact of certain variations in testing practices on test