The Pulmonary Stress Test or six-minute walk test is generally used to evaluate unexplained or exercise-induced dyspnea and monitor oxygen saturations. This test will help determine whether exertional limitations are primarily cardiovascular or pulmonary in nature, document exercise-induced hypoxemia, detect covert respiratory dysfunction in patients with interstitial or pulmonary vascular disease, assess response to treatment, and assess pre-surgical risk.
The object of this test is to walk for as far as possible for six minutes. You will walk back and forth on a flat surface such as a hallway. Six minutes is a long time to walk, so you will be exerting yourself. You will probably get out of breath or become exhausted. You are permitted to slow down, to stop, and to rest as necessary. You may lean against the wall while resting, but resume walking as soon as you are able.
- If you use oxygen to walk with you will be asked to carry or push your oxygen tank.
- You may use a cane or walker during this test but you will not be able use the assistance of another person.