BACKGROUND The 6-minute walk and heart rate variability have been used to assess mortality risk in patients with heart failure, but their relationship to each other and their usefulness for predicting mortality at 1 year are unknown. OBJECTIVE To assess the relationships between the 6-minute walk test, heart rate variability, and 1-year mortality. METHOD A sample of 113 patients in advanced stages of heart failure (New York Heart Association Functional Class III-IV, left ventricular ejection <0.25) were studied. All 6-minute walks took place in an enclosed, level, measured corridor and were supervised by the same nurse. Heart rate variability was measured by using (1) a standard-deviation method and (2) Poincaré plots. Data on RR intervals obtained by using 24-hour Holter monitoring were analyzed. Survival was determined at 1 year after the Holter recording. RESULTS The results showed no significant associations between the results of the 6-minute walk and the two measures of heart rate variability. The results of the walk were related to 1-year mortality but not to the risk of sudden death. Both measures of heart rate variability had significant associations with 1-year mortality and with sudden death. However, only heart rate variability measured by using Poincaré plots was a predictor of total mortality and risk of sudden death, independent of left ventricular ejection fraction, serum levels of sodium, results of the 6-minute walk test, and the standard-deviation measure of heart rate variability. CONCLUSIONS Results of the 6-minute walk have poor association with mortality and the two measures of heart rate variability in patients with advanced-stage heart failure and a low ejection fraction. Further studies are needed to determine the optimal clinical usefulness of the 6-minute walk and heart rate variability in patients with advanced-stage heart failure.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||American Journal of Critical Care|
|State||Published - Sep 1997|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Critical Care