New Delhi, Sep 30 (ANI): Researchers found that fitness trackers can better estimate exercise capacity and determine the health status of patients, rather than the cliche six-minute walk distance test doctors opt for. Researchers said the test results are another example in how wearable and monitoring devices like Fitbits and Apple Watches can be used in patient care to improve outcomes. “For patients, this means we can track their progress more frequently in a manner that’s less expensive and more convenient than current standardised testing,” said Denitza Blagev, MD, lead investigator of the study and pulmonary and critical care physician at Intermountain Healthcare. The six-minute walk distance (6WMD) is an important, objective standard used to assess exercise capacity. Patients walk for six minutes and, then based on how many meters they cover in that time, physicians can predict outcomes and mortality for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cardiovascular diseases. Findings from the study were presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress meetings. In the study, researchers conducted a 12-week, blinded, randomised, cross-over trial with 52 patients, a group that included adults with a history of respiratory problems during periods of elevated air pollution. Wrist step counters tracked patient steps for those 12 weeks, and patients also filled out respiratory symptom questionnaires. Researchers found they could effectively estimate a patient’s 6MWD results by using step counters, instead of having patients come in a clinical setting to do the 6MWD test.
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