This 6-minute walk test can tell whether a covid-19 patient needs hospitalisation

According to doctors, there is an oxygen level fluctuation of around 4% before and after taking a walk—which can help families understand if their patient needs hospitalisation for Covid-19.
covid-19 patients
Keep an oximeter handy and keep a tab of your vitals if you are covid-19 positive. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
HT Correspondent Published: 22 Apr 2021, 11:11 am IST
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As hospitals are running out of beds with a sharp spike in the number of people Covid-19 patients requiring medical admission, doctors are urging people to not panic if the RT-PCR test comes positive and not to seek hospital admission when not required. Most of the Covid-19 positive patients get cured under home treatment, a video message posted by the citizen engagement platform of the government of India said based on the suggestions of Dr CS Pramesh, director, Tata Memorial Hospital.

Apart from good nutrition, loads of fluid, yoga, pranayam, covid-positive patients must track their fever and oxygen level. For an accurate understanding of the oxygen level, taking a six-minute walk test is being suggested where a patient has to oxygen reading before and after six-minute of walking in their isolation rooms. This test can be taken 2-3 times in a day, the video message said. If these readings are normal, then there is no need for the hospital admission.

Hospital admission is needed if

> the baseline saturation on Oximeter is below 94 per cent

> there is a 4 per cent or more fluctuation in oxygen level before and after 6 minutes of walking

In such cases when the oxygen level is below 94 per cent, one should lie face down on their belly to improve the oxygen level in blood.

Regarding medication, if a patient does not have any other symptom than fever, then only paracetamol is required.

AIIMS director Dr Ramdeep Guleria has said more than 85 per cent of the covid patients will recover without any specific treatment. “Oxygen is a treatment, it is like a drug. There is no data that shows that this will be of any help to the patients and is, therefore, ill-advised,” he said adding that healthy individuals with oxygen saturation in the range of 93-94 per cent do not need to take high-flow oxygen to maintain the optimum saturation level.

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