Exercise testing in severe emphysema: Association with quality of life and lung function

Cynthia D. Brown, Joshua O. Benditt, Frank C. Sciurba, Shing M. Lee, Gerard J. Criner, Zab Mosenifar, David M. Shade, William A. Slivka, Robert A. Wise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Six-minute walk testing (6MWT) and cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPX) are used to evaluate impairment in emphysema. However, the extent of impairment in these tests as well as the correlation of these tests with each other and lung function in advanced emphysema is not well characterized. During screening for the National Emphysema Treatment Trial, maximum ergometer CPX and 6MWT were performed in 1,218 individuals with severe COPD with an average FEV1 of 26.9 ± 7.1 % predicted. Predicted values for 6MWT and CPX were calculated from reference equations. Correlation coefficients and multivariable regression models were used to determine the association between lung function, quality of life (QOL) scores, and exercise measures. The two forms of exercise testing were correlated with each other (r = 0.57, p < 0.0001). However, the impairment of performance on CPX was greater than on the 6MWT (27.6 ± 16.8 vs. 67.9 ± 18.9 % predicted). Both exercise tests had similar correlation with measures of QOL, but maximum exercise capacity was better correlated with lung function measures than 6-minute walk distance. After adjustment, 6MWD had a slightly greater association with total SGRQ score than maximal exercise (effect size 0.37 ± 0.04 vs. 0.25 ± 0.03 %predicted/unit). Despite advanced emphysema, patients are able to maintain 6MWD to a greater degree than maximum exercise capacity. Moreover, the 6MWT may be a better test of functional capacity given its greater association with QOL measures whereas CPX is a better test of physiologic impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-124
Number of pages8
JournalCOPD: Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Clinical trial
  • Emphysema
  • Exercise tests
  • Lung diseases
  • Multicenter studies
  • Obstructive
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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