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Asessing Exercise Capacity

Exercise capacity should be measured as part of the initial assessment for entry into a pulmonary rehabilitation program.  To evaluate the effectiveness of the program in relation to exercise capacity, the same assessment should be repeated at the completion of the program (see Program Evaluation).

Two commonly used and validated field tests of exercise capacity for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are:

1. The Six-Minute Walk Test (6MWT)

2. The Incremental Shuttle Walk Test (ISWT)

3. Other Exercise Tests


The 6MWT is the test most widely used in Australia.  A summary of the main differences between the 6MWT and the ISWT is available  [For further details, see: Solway, 2001].