Skip to main content
  • Poster presentation
  • Open access
  • Published:

Using the 6 minute walk to investigate endurance in patients with HTLV associated myelopathy

Patients with HTLV-Associated-Myelopathy (pwHAM) predominantly have proximal leg weakness, and reduced activities of daily living (ADLs). 92% of pwHAM attending NCHR use a walking aid and experience difficulty with walking long distances, thus many are housebound, or community ambulators. The 6 minute walk test (6MWT) measures walking endurance and was measured at 2 timepoints (T1 & T2), 1 year(yr) apart. We retrospectively analysed 36 patients’ notes (26♀: 10♂; mean age 56.8yrs; mean duration of HAM 10.7yrs). We correlated, regressed and t-tested 10m timed walk (10mTW), walking aid used, pain scores, distance covered, time taken and velocity. Significant differences were found between T1&T2 for: 6MWTime p=0.02; 6MWVelocity p=0.04 & 10mTW p=0.04. 6MW is reliable (ICC: 0.83).10mTW inversely correlated with the 6MWTDistance covered T1p=0.002 & T2 p=0.022 & 6MWTVelocity T1p=0.000 & T2 p=0.002.10mTW at T1 predicted 6MWDistance (p=0.004), T1 6MWVelocity predicted T2 distance walked. Walking aids predicted 10mTW time (p=0.00 at T1 & T2); 6 MWDistance covered (T1=p=0.002;T2:p=0.00) and velocity (T1&T2:p=0.00). Duration of disease (p=0.34), interval between tests (p=0.57) & age (p=0.75) did not predict the 6 MWT (distance or time) or the 10mTW. Average pain score changed 8.3% between T1&T2 (p=0.75). No element of the 6 MW test or the 10mTW correlated with pain at either time point. Walking endurance is an important component of walking capacity. The 6MWT appears to be a reliable measure to use in patients with HAM. The results demonstrate that pwHAM are more dependent in their ADLs, are a falls risk, walk limited distances & have limited endurance.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to A Adonis.

Rights and permissions

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Adonis, A., Taylor, G. Using the 6 minute walk to investigate endurance in patients with HTLV associated myelopathy. Retrovirology 11 (Suppl 1), P20 (2014).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: