Low-technology exercise test in the preoperative evaluation of lung resection candidates



  • A. Brunelli | brunellialex@gmail.com Division of Thoracic Surgery, Ospedali Riuniti Ancona, Italy.
  • C. Pompili Division of Thoracic Surgery, Ospedali Riuniti Ancona, Italy.
  • M. Salati Division of Thoracic Surgery, Ospedali Riuniti Ancona, Italy.


Exercise tests are increasingly used in the preoperative functional evaluation of lung resection candidates. Low-technology exercise tests include six minute walking, shuttle walking and stair climbing. Conflicting evidence has been reported regarding 6 minute walking test. This test should not be used to select patients for lung resection. An incremental shuttle walk test is easier to replicate than 6 minute walking test. Most patients achieving 25 shuttles or 400 m have a maximum oxygen consumption measured at cardiopulmonary exercise test greater than 15 l/Kg/min. Although this test tends to underestimate performance at the lower range compared to peak oxygen consumption it can be used a screening test before lung resection. Excluding patients from operation based on this test alone is however not recommended and a formal cardiopulmonary exercise test should be always used in those walking less than 400 m. Stair climbing has been extensively studied in thoracic surgery. Several studies have found that poor performance in this test is indicative of cardiopulmonary complications and mortality after lung resection. In particular, climbing less than 12 m represents very high risk, whereas climbing more than 22 m is associated with a favourable outcome. Recent guidelines recommend referring all patients climbing lower than 22 m to cardiopulmonary exercise test. Stair climbing can be used as a screening test in cases cardiopulmonary exercise test is not readily available. In general, patients climbing more than 22 m can proceed to surgery without further evaluation.



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Exercise test, Pulmonary resection, Preoperative evaluation, Stair climbing test, Shuttle walk test, 6 minute walk test
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How to Cite
Brunelli, A., C. Pompili, and M. Salati. 2016. “Low-Technology Exercise Test in the Preoperative Evaluation of Lung Resection Candidates”. Monaldi Archives for Chest Disease 73 (2). https://doi.org/10.4081/monaldi.2010.301.