Pediatric Physical Therapy
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PURPOSE: The purposes of this study were to document longitudinal developmental trajectories in 6-minute walk test (6MWT) distances and to develop age-specific reference percentiles for children across different Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) levels.
METHODS: A TOTAL OF: 456 children with cerebral palsy ages 3 to 12 years of, GMFCS levels I to III participated. Children's motor function was classified on the GMFCS, and children completed the 6MWT 2 to 5 times in 2 years.
RESULTS: Longitudinal developmental trajectories support that 6MWT distances increase with age followed by a tapering, as children approach their functional limit relative to their GMFCS level. Reference percentile graphs were created to monitor change over time.
CONCLUSIONS: The 6MWT longitudinal developmental trajectories, reference percentiles, and interpretation of percentile change should assist collaborative and proactive intervention planning relative to functional walking capacity for children with cerebral palsy.