The 6-minute walk test in Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophy: Longitudinal observations

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


In this study we used the 6-minute walk distance (6MWD) to characterize ambulation over time in Duchenne/ Becker muscular dystrophy (DBMD). The 6MWD was assessed in 18 boys with DBMD and 22 healthy boys, ages 4-12 years, over mean [range] intervals of 58 [39-87] and 69 [52-113] weeks, respectively. Height and weight increased similarly in both groups. At 52 weeks, 6MWD decreased in 12 of 18 (67%) DBMD subjects (overall mean [range]: 357 [125-481] to 300 [0-510] meters; Δ -57 meters, -15.9%), but increased in 14 of 22 (64%) healthy subjects (overall mean [range]: 623 [479-754] to 636 [547-717] meters; Δ +13 meters, +2.1%). Two DBMD subjects lost ambulation. Changes in 6MWD depended on stride length and age; improvements usually occurred by 7-8 years of age; older DBMD subjects worsened, whereas older healthy subjects were stable. The 6MWD changes at 1 year confirm the validity of this endpoint and emphasize that preserving ambulation must remain a major goal of DBMD therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)966-974
Number of pages9
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Case-control study
  • Child
  • Disabled children
  • Exercise test
  • Gait disorders
  • Neurologic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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