The 6-minute walk test as a new outcome measure in duchenne muscular dystrophy

Craig M McDonald, Erik K Henricson, Jay J. Han, R. Ted Abresch, Alina Nicorici, Gary L. Elfring, Leone Atkinson, Allen Reha, Samit Hirawat, Langdon L. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

257 Scopus citations


Walking abnormalities are prominent in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). We modified the 6-minute walk test (6MWT) for use as an outcome measure in patients with DMD and evaluated its performance in 21 ambulatory boys with DMD and 34 healthy boys, ages 4 to 12 years. Boys with DMD were tested twice, -1 week apart; controls were tested once. The groups had similar age, height, and weight. All tests were completed. Boys who fell recovered rapidly from falls without injury. Mean ± SD [range] 6-minute walk distance (6MWD) was lower in boys with DMD than in controls (366 ± 83 [125-481] m vs. 621 ± 68 [479-754] m; P < 0.0001; unpaired t-test). Test-retest correlation for boys with DMD was high (r = 0.91). Stride length (R2 = 0.89; P < 0.0001) was the major determinant of 6MWD for both boys with DMD and controls. A modified 6MWT is feasible and safe, documents disease-related limitations on ambulation, is reproducible, and offers a new outcome measure for DMD natural history and therapeutic trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)500-510
Number of pages11
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • 6-minute walk test
  • Case-control study
  • Child
  • Duchenne
  • Gait disorder
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Neurologic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology


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