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:
- Measure how well your lungs are working if you
have a long-term (chronic) lung disease, such as asthma.
- Guide the
treatment and monitor the effectiveness of treatment for asthma.
Peak expiratory flow monitoring provides information
to help people with asthma make better treatment decisions.
your lung function if you are regularly exposed to substances at work that can
damage your lungs (occupational asthma).
- Monitor for early signs of rejection if you have had a
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.
If you use medicine to help with breathing (such as for asthma), talk to your doctor about the amount of time you should wait to test your lung function after taking your medicine. You may need to wait a few hours after taking the medicine to do a lung function test. Or your doctor may recommend that you test your lung function in the morning before you take your medicine.
Avoid eating a heavy meal for
about 3 hours before performing a PEF test. Be sure to 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.