Measuring functional capacity and writing an individualized exercise prescription (ITP) for patients prior to beginning a cardiopulmonary rehab program is an important step that often gets overlooked. However, the right tests and tools can help simplify your evaluation and prescription process.
WHAT IS THE KING 6-MINUTE CYCLE TEST?
The King 6 Minute Cycle Test (also referred to as the NCCRA 6 Minute Cycle Test) was developed by Carl N. King along with NCCRA colleagues Dave Verrill and Mike Lippard in the 1990’s as an alternate measure of functional capacity to the ATS 6-Minute Walk Test.
Recently approved as an approved measure of functional capacity in the AACVPR Outcomes Database, the King 6-Minute Cycle Test (6MC) is a self-paced measure of functional capacity that allows a quick and accurate measure of functional fitness while allowing easy measure of vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, rate of perceived exertion, fatigue) that are needed to write an individualized exercise prescription.
WHAT IS NEEDED FOR THE KING 6-MINUTE CYCLE TEST?
Keeping administration simple, the 6MC only requires a Schwinn Air Dyne™ cycle ergometer to complete. The test can be performed as a part of a regular cardiac rehabilitation training session using ECG telemetry to measure heart rate and rhythm, standard blood pressure measurement and rating of perceived exertions.
HOW DO I ADMINISTER THE KING 6-MINUTE CYCLE TEST?
Patients should be asked to complete the 6MC within one week of entering cardiopulmonary rehab. Pre-test heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation and RPE will need to be taken before beginning the test. To complete the test, patients will be asked to cycle for 6 minutes, covering as much distance as possible during that time period.
Remember, the test is designed to be a self-paced functional exercise test used to provide the data necessary to write and ITP. If any patient becomes symptomatic (i.e. angina, severe dyspnea etc.) the test should be stopped. Immediately following the 6-minute time period record fatigue level and the vitals taken pre-test.
The test will also need to be repeated during the last week of treatment, upon discharge, or as necessary to update the exercise prescription (such as with a change in medication). As an approved outcome measure, 6MC outcomes can be recorded and tracked in the AACVPR Registry.
For a full explanation the King 6-Minute Cycle Test, including step-by-step instructions, patient consent form and RPE scale, download a free copy of Dr. King’s whitepaper here.