6-Minute Walk Test (6-MWT or SMWT)

American Thoracic Society


Basic description

Walking tests have been used since the 1960s, with the first reported walking test being that of Balke (1963), a 12-minute walk or run designed for the Federal Aviation Agency. Today they are used for a diverse range of illnesses (i.e. rheumatic conditions, heart conditions, respiratory conditions). The following content will describe the 6-minute walking test (6-MWT; SMWT; 6MWT) as per the guidelines and information of the American Thoracic Society (published in 2002) and the American College of Rheumatology (reviewed in 2015)


American Thoracic Society

No information
To measure response to medical interventions in patients with moderate to severe heart or lung disease
To measure functional status of patients
To serve as a predictor of morbidity and mortality
Therapeutic area
  • Generic
Therapeutic indication


Type of Clinical Outcome Assessment (COA)
  • perfo PerfO
Original language(s)
  • English
Bibliographic reference(s) of the original questionnaire

American Thoracic Society. ATS statement: Guidelines for the six-minute walk test. Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 2002; 166: 111–117 (Full Text Article)

Balke B. A simple field test for the assessment of physical fitness. Report Civil Aeromedical Research Institute (U.S.) 1963;53:1–8

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