Background and Aims: The 6-minute walk test (6MWT) is a measure of the overall functional capacity and is associated with the risk of mortality in patients with liver cirrhosis and in those listed for liver transplantation. Nevertheless, physical performance has not yet been established as a predictor of the risk of clinical decompensation in patients with cirrhosis. We aimed to determine the capacity of the 6MWT to predict the clinical decompensation in patients with cirrhosis after 1 year of follow-up.

Methods: This prospective cohort study included patients with compensated cirrhosis of several etiologies. All participants had stable clinical conditions for at least 6 months prior to baseline. At baseline, patients performed the 6MWT and were followed up for 1 year to detect the decompensation outcomes.

Results: A total of 55 participants completed the evaluation and follow-up. The mean age was 56.3±10.5 years, and 65% were men. Around 65.4% were classified as Child-Pugh class A. In the receiver operating characteristic analysis, a walking distance ≤ 401.8 m during the 6MWT was set as the threshold for predicting clinical decompensation with 64% sensitivity and 82% specificity. Kaplan-Meier curve analysis revealed that patients who covered a distance of < 401.8 m during the test had a decompensation-free outcome rate of 30% as compared to the rate of 75% of those who walked > 401.8 m (p<0.001).

Conclusions: The 6MWT was a significant predictor of clinical decompensation in patients with cirrhosis. A cutoff of 401.8 m was related to an increased risk of clinical decompensation in cirrhotic patients with a stable clinical condition at baseline. The 6MWT should be added to the clinical assessment of the cirrhotic population.


6-minute walk test, liver cirrhosis, clinical decompensation, functional capacity, mortality