Cardiopulmonary exercise testing is an important tool to predict prognosis in children and adults with heart failure. A much less sophisticated exercise test is the 6 min walk test, which has been shown an independent predictor for morbidity and mortality in adults with heart failure. Therefore, we hypothesized that the 6 min walk test could be predictive for outcome in children with dilated cardiomyopathy. We prospectively included 49 children with dilated cardiomyopathy ≥6 years who performed a 6 min walk test. Median age was 11.9 years (interquartile range [IQR] 7.4–15.1), median time after diagnosis was 3.6 years (IQR 0.6–7.4). The 6 min walk distance was transformed to a percentage of predicted, using age- and gender-specific norm values (6MWD%). For all patients, mean 6MWD% was 70 ± 21%. Median follow-up was 33 months (IQR 14–50). Ten patients reached the combined endpoint of death or heart transplantation. Using univariable Cox regression, a higher 6MWD% resulted in a lower risk of death or transplantation (hazard ratio 0.95 per percentage increase, p = 0.006). A receiver operating characteristic curve was generated to define the optimal threshold to identify patients at highest risk for an endpoint. Patients with a 6MWD% < 63% had a 2 year transplant-free survival of 73%, in contrast to a transplant-free survival of 92% in patients with a 6MWD% ≥ 63% (p = 0.003). In children with dilated cardiomyopathy, the 6 min walk test is a simple and feasible tool to identify children with a higher risk of death or heart transplantation.

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Pediatric Cardiology
Department of Pediatrics

den Boer, S., Flipse, D.H.K. (Daniël H. K.), van der Meulen, M., Backx, A., Du Marchie Sarvaas, G., ten Harkel, A., … Dalinghaus, M. (2017). Six-Minute Walk Test as a Predictor for Outcome in Children with Dilated Cardiomyopathy and Chronic Stable Heart Failure. Pediatric Cardiology, 38(3), 465–471. doi:10.1007/s00246-016-1536-y