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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:
Last Revised: November 28, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Robert L. Cowie, MB, FCP(SA), MD, MSc, MFOM - Pulmonology
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