Lung Function - Peak Flow

procedure: First make sure you have no food or gum in your mouth and stand up. Put the pointer on the gage of the peak flow meter at 0. Attach the mouthpiece to the peak flow meter. Take a deep breath, then place the peak flow meter mouthpiece in your mouth and close your lips tightly around the outside of the mouthpiece (don't put your tongue inside the mouthpiece). Breathe out as hard and as fast as possible (using a "huff" rather than a full breath out). Record the value on the gage before moving the pointer on the gage back to 0. At least three attempts should be performed.

equipment required: peak flow meter, which can come as a small pocket-sized machine.

results: Record the highest value of all attempts. The value recorded is peak expiratory flow (PEF), in liters per minute.

comments: as PEF results depend on how hard you try, it is very important to blow as hard and fast as possible, and to take as many attempts as necessary to get the best result. As only peak flow is measured, which occurs during the first part of expiration, it is not necessary to expel all the air from the lungs at each attempt. People who use a home peak flow meter need to use the same meter over time because different brands of meters may give different values for results. If you change meters, you need to determine your personal best measurement using the new machine. Wash meters in soapy water every 2 weeks to prevent growth of bacteria.

spirometry testlung function test

interpretation: Lung function tests are of little value for predicting fitness and exercise performance, provided that the values fall within a normal range. Peak flow is used as an indicator of asthma or similar.

advantages: small portable and inexpensive peak flow meters are available that are great for the asthmatic to monitor their own lung function at any time.

disadvantages: Peak expiratory flow meter results are not as accurate as lung function measures through spirometry (see lung function tests).

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