Six-Minute Walk

Your child's doctor has asked that your child take a six-minute walk. This information explains what the test is, how to prepare for it, and how it is done. Parents can use this information to help their child prepare for the test.

What is a six-minute walk?

The six-minute walk shows how well your child's heart works. It also shows how much oxygen is in his blood during exercise.

Your child will be asked to walk up and down a hall for six minutes. This test allows your child to exercise without straining.

Your child must wear proper shoes for the test

Your child's shoe's must be comfortable, non-slip and closed toe. Running shoes are a good choice. Your child must also wear socks.

Who will give the test?

A technologist will give your child the test. Technologists are people who are trained to give tests on the machines in the hospital.

A machine will measure your child's heart rate and oxygen level

The technologist will take your child to the exercise room. The technologist will put three ECG stickers on your child's chest and also a probe on the tip of your child's finger. This probe is connected to a device called a pulse oximeter. This device measures:

  • how fast your child's heart is beating, also called your child's heart rate
  • how much oxygen is in your child's blood

Your child will walk up and down the hall

The technologist will ask your child to walk up and down the hallway for six minutes at whatever speed is comfortable. The technologist will follow your child while he walks. The technologist will measure the distance covered, your child's heart rate, and the amount of oxygen in your child's blood.

Your child should let the technologist know if he has problems during the test

Your child should tell the technologist right away if he has any of these problems during the test:

  • pain in the chest
  • trouble breathing
  • dizziness
  • tiredness

If the technologist sees a problem during the test, they will tell the cardiologist right away.

You can stay with your child during the test

You can watch your child while he is doing the six-minute walk. However, the technologist will ask you not to talk to your child during the test.

You will hear about the test results in about 10 days

A cardiologist who specializes in reading exercise tests will look at all of the information from the test and write a report.

Your child's cardiologist will get this report of the test results in about 10 days. If the cardiologist has concerns about the results, you will be contacted by phone.

If you see your child's doctor on the day of the test, the doctor may be able to tell you the preliminary results of the test then.

Key points

  • The six-minute walk tells your child's doctor how well your child's heart works and how much oxygen is in your child's blood during exercise.
  • The test uses a machine to measure your child's heart rate and oxygen level while your child walks up and down the hall.
  • Your child should let the technologist know right away if he has pain, trouble breathing, dizziness, or tiredness during the test.

Laura Fenwick, BSc
Jennifer Russell, MD, FRCPC
Jennifer Kilburn, RN, MN
Carrie Heffernan, RN, MN

11/10/2009

At SickKids: Where is the test done?

The test is done on the 4th floor of the hospital on ward 4B. Please register at the 4B desk.





Notes: