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Scholarly Communication

Effects of equipment and technique on peak flow measurements

Bongers, Thomas and O'Driscoll, B Ronan (2006) Effects of equipment and technique on peak flow measurements. BMC Pulmonary Medicine, 6 . Article Number: 14. ISSN 1471-2466

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.



Background: Different lung function equipment and different respiratory manoeuvres may produce different Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF) results. Although the PEF is the most common lung function test, there have been few studies of these effects and no previous study has evaluated both factors in a single group of patients. Methods: We studied 36 subjects (PEF range 80–570 l/min). All patients recorded PEF measurements using a short rapid expiration following maximal inspiration (PEF technique) or a forced maximal expiration to residual volume (FVC technique). Measurements were made using a Wright's peak flow meter, a turbine spirometer and a Fleisch pneumotachograph spirometer. Results: The mean PEF was 8.7% higher when the PEF technique was used (compared with FVC technique, p < 0.0001). The mean PEF recorded with the turbine spirometer was 5.5% lower than the Wright meter reading. The Fleisch spirometer result was 19.5% lower than the Wright reading. However, adjustment of the Wrights measurements from the traditional Wright's scale to the new EU Peak Flow scale produced results that were only 7.2% higher than the Fleisch pneumotachograph measurements. Conclusion: Peak flow measurements are affected by the instruction given and by the device and Peak Flow scale used. Patient management decisions should not be based on PEF measurement made on different instruments.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Published: 20 June 2006. 6 pages (page numbers not for citation purposes).
Uncontrolled Keywords:Peak Expriratory Flow; Lung function equipment; respiratory Manoeuvres; turbine spirometer; Wright's peak flow meter; fleisch pneumotachograph spirometer
Subjects:R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Departments, Research Centres and Related Units:Academic Faculties, Institutes and Research Centres > Faculty of Medicine > School of Clinical Sciences
Publisher's Statement:© 2006 Bongers and O'Driscoll; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Related URLs:
ID Code:765
Deposited On:01 Jul 2008 16:32
Last Modified:19 May 2011 20:32

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