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A peak flow (PEF) meter is a pocket-sized machine that measures peak
expiratory flow (PEF). A person measures PEF by taking a deep breath and then
breathing into a tube on the meter as hard and as fast as possible. PEF results
depend on how hard you try.
The peak flow meter should be used 3 times and the best result
recorded. Peak expiratory flow meter results are not as accurate as spirometry
(done in a doctor's office), but both measure lung function.
People who use a home peak flow meter need to use the same meter over
time because different brands of meters 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 and fungi.
Before testing, make sure you have no food or gum in your mouth.
You can use a peak flow meter while standing or sitting up straight. But you should measure peak flow in the same position (sitting or standing) every time. Follow these steps to use a peak flow meter:
November 28, 2012
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Robert L. Cowie, MB, FCP(SA), MD, MSc, MFOM - Pulmonology
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