The purposes of this investigation were to determine (1) if the 6-minute cycle (6MC) test is a valid and reliable measure of physical performance in cardiac patients and (2) if physiologic responses to the 6-minute walk (6MW) and 6MC tests differ in men and women.
Subjects were 101 phase II cardiac rehabilitation patients aged 40 to 79 years. Each subject performed a maximal graded exercise test (MGXT), a 6MW test, and three 6MC tests on separate days.
Pearson product moment correlation r values ranged from 0.78 to 0.89 (P = .001) when the three 6MC tests were compared with one another, indicating good test/retest reliability. The 6MC tests were all significantly and positively correlated to 6MW distance (P < .01), with r values ranging from 0.55 to 0.59. Each 6MC test was also correlated with maximal graded exercise test total time (P < .01), with r values ranging from 0.51 to 0.63, and with estimated maximal metabolic equivalents (P < .01), with r values ranging from 0.44 to 0.60. Although heart rate, systolic blood pressure, rate-pressure product, and rating of perceived exertion values for men were greater during the 6MC test than during the 6MW test (P < .001), no differences were seen in these parameters between tests in women (P = .166 to.260), with the exception of a greater exercise rating of perceived exertion seen during the 6MC test(P = .009).
The North Carolina 6MC test seems to provide a valid and reliable measure of functional abilities in phase II cardiac rehabilitation participants. Men generally present with greater heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and rate-pressure product values during this test than dothe women when compared with a standard 6MW test.