Exercise Intensity during 6-Minute Walk Test in Patients with Peripheral Artery Disease

Breno Quintella Farah Raphael Mendes Ritti-Dias Polly Montgomery Gabriel Grizzo Cucato Andrew Gardner About the authors



Non-supervised ground walking has been recommended for patients with symptomatic peripheral artery disease (PAD). However, the magnitude of the effort required by this activity and the characteristics of patients whose ground walking is more intense are unclear.


To determine whether ground walking exceeds the ventilatory threshold (VT), a recognized marker of exercise intensity, in patients with symptomatic PAD.


Seventy patients (61.4% male and aged 40 to 85 years old) with symptomatic PAD were recruited. Patients performed a graded treadmill test for VT determination. Then, they were submitted to a 6-minute walk test so the achievement of VT during ground ambulation could be identified. Multiple logistic regression was conducted to identify predictors of VT achievement during the 6-minute walk test. The significance level was set at p < 0.05 for all analyses.


Sixty percent of patients achieved VT during the 6-minute walk test. Women (OR = 0.18 and 95%CI = 0.05 to 0.64) and patients with higher cardiorespiratory fitness (OR = 0.56 and 95%CI = 0.40 to 0.77) were less likely to achieve VT during ground walking compared to men and patients with lower cardiorespiratory fitness, respectively.


More than half of patients with symptomatic PAD achieved VT during the 6-minute walk test. Women and patients with higher cardiorespiratory fitness are less likely to achieve VT during the 6-minute walk test, which indicates that ground walking may be more intense for this group. This should be considered when prescribing ground walking exercise for these patients.

Walk Test/methods; Peripheral Arterial Disease/complications; Physical Exertion; Exercise; Intermittent Claudication; Vital Capacity/physiology

Sociedade Brasileira de Cardiologia - SBC Avenida Marechal Câmara, 160, sala: 330, Centro, CEP: 20020-907, (21) 3478-2700 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil, Fax: +55 21 3478-2770 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil
E-mail: revista@cardiol.br