We have evaluated the 'two minute walking distance' in children with cystic fibrosis as an objective measurement of exercise tolerance. There was a strong correlation between walking distance and height in 89 normal children (r = 0.72). Fifty children with cystic fibrosis showed a similar correlation (r = 0.56) with a mean result of 94% of that expected for height compared with the normal children. There was a training effect in the normal children with the second walk being significantly better than the first, but this was not evident in children with cystic fibrosis. The test was reproducible with no significant change in 12 children retested after one to three months. Sixteen children with cystic fibrosis admitted for treatment of chest disease showed a significant improvement in walking distance with treatment. Children as young as 5 years old can perform a walking distance test. It seems to be an objective way of assessing exercise tolerance and can help in evaluating response to treatment.
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