Occupational Asthma Reference

Hitchings DJ, Dickinson SA, Miller MR, Fairfax AJ, Development of an accurate portable recording peak-flow meter for the diagnosis of asthma, J Biomed Eng, 1993;15:188-192,

Keywords: peak flow

Known Authors

Martin Miller, Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham Martin Miller

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Abstract

This article describes the systematic design of an electronic recording peak expiratory flow (PEF) meter to provide accurate data for the diagnosis of occupational asthma. Traditional diagnosis of asthma relies on accurate data of PEF tests performed by the patients in their own homes and places of work. Unfortunately there are high error rates in data produced and recorded by the patient, most of these are transcription errors and some patients falsify their records. The PEF measurement itself is not effort independent, the data produced depending on the way in which the patient performs the test. Patients are taught how to perform the test giving maximal effort to the expiration being measured. If the measurement is performed incorrectly then errors will occur. Accurate data can be produced if an electronically recording PEF instrument is developed, thus freeing the patient from the task of recording the test data. It should also be capable of determining whether the PEF measurement has been correctly performed. A requirement specification for a recording PEF meter was produced. A commercially available electronic PEF meter was modified to provide the functions required for accurate serial recording of the measurements produced by the patients. This is now being used in three hospitals in the West Midlands for investigations into the diagnosis of occupational asthma. In investigating current methods of measuring PEF and other pulmonary quantities a greater understanding was obtained of the limitations of current methods of measurement, and quantities being measured.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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