Skip main navigation

Peak flow meter demonstration

Video by Kamilla Ramdzan on how to use a peak flow meter.
11
Hi, I’m Kamilla I’m Nina. Hi, Nina. So the doctor asked me to show you how to do the peak flow meter. Have you seen a peak flow meter before? I’m afraid not, no. That’s OK. I’ll show you how to do it. OK. These are peak flow meters. It is a simple device which is used to measure the amount of air that you can blow out from your lungs. There are a few sizes. This is for children, and the big one is for adults. There are a few parts that you need to know. This is the mouthpiece. This is the pointer, which will move forward when you blow. The slot will allow the pointer to move.
60
The scale will indicate the reading. And finally, the holes at the end of the device will allow air to escape. First, you must make sure the pointer is at the zero marking. You can do this either sitting upright, or standing up. When holding the device, make sure your hands do not cover the slot or the holes. Take a deep breath, put your mouth on the mouthpiece, ensure a tight seal, and then blow as hard and as fast as possible.
102.3
Now, you need to look at the pointer, which will show you the reading. Repeat this twice and jot down the highest reading. So you’ve seen me do the peak flow meter. Now, can you show me how to do it? OK.
123.6
So I make sure the pointer is at zero, and then try to blow. Don’t cover any of the holes or the slot. Yeah, that’s the right way. Don’t cover the hole.
141.6
Is this correct? I think you should blow harder, and then make sure when you cover the mouthpiece, ensure a tight seal.
153.3
Push this back to zero.
160.4
That’s good. Can you tell me the reading? It is 370. Yep, that’s correct. And how many times should you do it? I have to do it two more times, and I will take the highest value. Yep, that’s correct. So I think now you can do it on your own. OK, that’s great. Thank you.

A peak flow meter is an aerosol generating procedure (AGP) and performing should be avoided in healthcare settings when there is a risk of cross-contamination e.g. during the COVID pandemic, if the patient may have an infection like TB. Using ones own peak flow at home is better.

In this video, a healthcare worker demonstrates how to use a peak flow meter.

False high readings can occur if the incorrect technique is used on a peak flow meter e.g. accelerating the airflow by spitting or putting your tongue inside the mouthpiece. (Connelly, 1987)

This article is from the free online

Chronic Respiratory Diseases (CRD) in Primary Care Settings

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education