6 May 2012

Peak flow meter (Medical students)

  1. Diagnosis – diurnal variability > 20%, improvement of PEFR after bronchodilator or stereoids. Also useful as an assessment of response to treatment.
  2. Monitoring – as part of an individual management plan that includes education and symptom recognition (asthma symptoms during the day, interference with sleep, activities e.g. sports). There should be little variation in the reading from day to day, or morning/evening when asthma is well-controlled.
  3. Acute exacerbation – less than 50% best/predicted in severe attack; less than 33% in life-threatening attack or unable to perform measurement.
Infants and young children (till 6 years) are not able to use the peak flow meter.

  1. Attach mouthpiece.
  2. Set the meter to zero. 
  3. Stands up or sit upright.
  4. Hold the meter level (horizontally), keep fingers away from the pointer.
  5. Deep breath and close lips firmly around the mouthpiece. 
  6. Blow as fast and strongly into the device as possible (as if you were blowing out candles on a birthday cake).
  7. Record the reading on the meter.
  8. Repeat three times and note the highest recorded number (not the average).