Home Lung Function Test
A home lung function test uses a peak flow meter or a home spirometer to monitor and evaluate any breathing problems you may have on a day-to-day basis. A peak flow meter allows you to measure your peak expiratory flow. A home spirometer allows you to measure your forced expiratory volume at 1 second (FEV1).
If you have a lung disease, such as asthma, your doctor may test your peak inspiratory flow (PIF) and peak expiratory flow (PEF) to measure the amount of air you can inhale and exhale. This is part of a more complete lung function test.
Why It Is Done
Testing your peak expiratory flow (PEF) or your forced expiratory volume at 1 second (FEV1) at home may help:
How To Prepare
To perform the peak expiratory flow (PEF) test, you need a peak flow meter. A peak flow meter is an inexpensive handheld device you breathe into as hard and as fast as you can.
Read and follow the instructions included with the peak flow meter. Ask your doctor to show you how to use this device before you use it at home. If you have questions about how to use a peak flow meter or how to read the results, talk with your doctor.
Avoid eating a heavy meal for about 3 hours before performing a PEF test. Be sure to sit up straight or stand up to help you take as large a breath as you can. Use the same position every time you test your PEF. Peak flow monitoring relies on your trying as hard as you can. For accurate results, be sure to give the test your best effort every time.
How It Is Done
Before you begin to test your peak expiratory flow (PEF), remove any gum or food you may have in your mouth. Follow these steps to use your peak flow meter:
How It Feels
Breathing in and out very quickly during these tests may make you feel lightheaded or may make you cough. If you feel like you are going to pass out, stop the test.
There are no significant risks linked with measuring peak expiratory flow (PEF). Breathing in and out very quickly during the test may make you feel lightheaded or may make you cough. If you feel lightheaded, stop the test.
A home lung function test uses a peak flow meter or a home spirometer to monitor and evaluate any breathing problems you may have on a day-to-day basis. A peak flow meter allows you to measure your peak expiratory flow (PEF). PEF measures how fast you can exhale using the greatest effort. A home spirometer allows you to measure your forced expiratory volume at 1 second (FEV1). Results from these tests can be compared to monitor the progression of disease or help measure your response to medical treatment for a long-term (chronic) lung disease, such as asthma.
Peak flows are compared to charts that list normal values based on age, sex, race, and height. They also can be compared with your personal best measurement. Check with your doctor or read the information included with your peak flow meter to find your normal range, which will vary depending on the type of breathing problems you may have. If you find abnormal results on any of the tests, discuss them with your doctor.
What Affects the Test
The accuracy of peak flow monitoring depends on your effort during the test. Results will be inaccurate if you do not follow directions or do not give your best effort during testing. The following factors also may affect the results of peak flow monitoring:
What To Think About
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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