Physiological Responses During Field Walking Tests in Adults with Bronchiectasis

Simone Dal Corso, Jacqueline C. Boldorini, Anderson A. de Camargo, Anderson José, Samia Z. Rached, Rodrigo A. Athanazio, Rafael Stelmach, Anne E. Holland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Field walking tests are commonly used in patients with chronic pulmonary diseases for assessment of functional capacity. However, the physiological demands and magnitude of desaturation on 6-min walk test (6MWT), incremental shuttle walk test (ISWT), and endurance shuttle walk test (ESWT) have not been investigated in patients with bronchiectasis. The objective of this study was to compare the physiological responses and the magnitude of desaturation of subjects with bronchiectasis when performing the 6MWT, ISWT, and ESWT. METHODS: Thirty-two subjects underwent the 6MWT, ISWT, and ESWT on 3 different days. Pulmonary gas exchange, heart rate, and [Formula: see text] were measured in all tests. RESULTS: There were no differences in the peak rate of oxygen uptake, ventilation, dyspnea, and leg fatigue between the tests. Equivalent cardiac demand (ie, heart rate at peak) was observed with the 6MWT (137 ± 21 beats/min) and the ESWT (142 ± 21 beats/min), but this was lower in the ISWT (135 ± 19 beats/min) compared to ESWT (P < .05). Most subjects achieved a vigorous exercise intensity (heart rate of 70-90% of predicted) in all tests. There was no difference in desaturation among the tests (6MWT: -6.8 ± 6.6%, ISWT: -6.1 ± 6.0%, and ESWT: -7.0 ± 5.4%). CONCLUSIONS: The 6MWT, ISWT, and ESWT induced similar physiological responses at the peak of exercise, eliciting a vigorous exercise intensity. The magnitude of desaturation was similar across tests. This means these tests can be used interchangeably for evaluation of exercise-induced desaturation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)618-624
Number of pages7
JournalRespiratory Care
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • bronchiectasis
  • exercise test
  • oxygen consumption
  • oxygen saturation
  • rehabilitation
  • walk test

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