© 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. PURPOSE: Prior research has shown a significant relationship between 6-minute walking distance (6MWD) and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, few studies have examined this relationship above and below the 350-m threshold that prognosticates survival and whether serum biomarkers could provide insight into the causes of quality-of-life differences above and below this threshold. METHODS: Measures of lung function, 6MWD, and HRQOL were compared in patients with COPD. Differences in HRQOL domains and serum biomarkers were compared in patients whose 6MWD were > or < 350 m. RESULTS: In patients walking < 350 m, scores in the physical domains of the SF-36 and the St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) were significantly different from scores of their counterparts with greater 6MWD. However, there was no association between any biomarkers and the physical domains of the SF-36 and the SGRQ. In patients walking < 350 m, only the IL-8 levels were associated with lower scores in SF-36 domains of emotional role, pain, vitality, and mental health (average r = -0.702; P =.01). In contrast, in patients walking > 350 m, surfactant protein D levels were associated with higher SF-36 scores in general pain, vitality, and social functioning (average r = 0.42; P =.04). CONCLUSIONS: In COPD, there is an association between 6MWD and the physical domains of the SF-36 and SGRQ in those patients walking < 350 m. The physical differences between patients walking < or > 350 m are not related to systemic inflammation. The association between interleukin 8 with nonphysical domains in patients with 6MWD < 350 m suggests that inflammation may play a larger role in the perceptive domain than previously recognized.