What is peak expiratory flow rate?
Peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) or ‘peak flow’ is a simple bedside test of lung function, most commonly used in people with asthma or chronic obstructive airways disease (COAD).
How is a PEFR test performed?
A PEFR test is a quick and simple bedside measurement. A small tube with a slider device measures how fast air is driven through the tube by the subject exhaling rapidly.
The subject takes a deep breath in, then breathes out as hard and as fast as possible, with a good airtight seal of the lips around the tube.
This is best done standing up; the best of three attempts is usually taken, with a short rest between attempts.
When would you need a PEFR test?
A PEFR may be requested by your doctor for symptoms such as shortness of breath (dyspnoea), cough or wheezing.
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PEFR test results explained
The normal range for peak fow measurements depends on your gender, age, and height.
There is a reasonable ‘spread’ of normal values for any group of people with the same age, height and gender.
The individual’s “personal best” measurement is a more reliable guide to predicting an asthma attack or assessing the severity of illness.
- Respiratory Physician
- General Practitioner (GP)
- General Physician
- Occupational Health Physician
- Emergency Physician
Also known as
- Peak flow
- National Asthma Council Australia
- The Australian Lung Foundation
- Peak Flow Information (Europe)
- Wikipedia – Peak expiratory flow
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. If in doubt, HealthEngine recommends consulting with a registered health practitioner.