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Walking Test Spots Sickest Lung Transplant Candidates

Those who take longest to go the distance are most likely to die, experts say

FRIDAY, Sept. 15, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- A simple walking test may help predict which lung transplant candidates are at greatest risk of dying, new research shows.

In the Sept. 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, researchers from Columbia University examined the medical records of 454 people with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), all of who were on a lung transplantation waiting list.

IPF is a lung disease in which lung tissue is damaged by an unknown cause. It causes inflammation and scarring of the lungs, which eventually leads to respiratory failure. Lung transplantation is the only known way to improve survival in people with IPF.

In this study, the researchers found that participants who could walk less than 680 feet during six minutes were four times as likely to die within six months as those who could cover more distance.

The walk test is less costly than other tests, can be performed on patients who require continuous oxygen, and does not require any special equipment or expertise other than a long hallway.

More information

The American Lung Association has more about pulmonary fibrosis.

SOURCE: American Thoracic Society, news release, Sept. 15, 2006
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