Asking a patient for a serial peak flow record

Many people think that it is impossible to get patients to record their peak flow every 2 hours, from waking to sleeping for 4 weeks. However we find that when asking patients by post the return rate is 56%, and this increases to 85% if we are able to talk to the patient in person. Completing a serial peak flow record is inconvenient, but most patients are keen to find out the cause of their problem and are more than willing to do it.

When asking patients to complete a peak flow record it is important to emphasize the following points.
  • The patient name / id should be on every page.
  • The date should be written down every day.
  • Good peak flow technique is important. This can be described by post and should be checked if seeing the patient in person.
  • At least 3 blows are needed each time. If the best two readings are more than 20 l/min apart then the patient should do more blows until the top two are less than 20 l/min apart.
  • Only the best blow should be written down on the sheet.
  • If the patient does different jobs or works in different areas this should be recorded on the sheet.
  • Any asthma medication should be written down on each sheet.
  • Missing the odd reading here and there is not a problem.

A pdf of the data entry sheet for recording peak flow is available on this website, please click the link to view and print out.

A variety of instruction leaflets given to patients (when seen in person or by post) is available below, depending on the type of meter.

Instructions for the Mini-Wright Meter
Instructions for the Mini-Wright Digital Meter
Instructions for the Piko-1 Meter
Instructions for using the Vitalograph PEF/FEV1 Diary
Instructions for Asma-1 meter

We also give out an annotated example week of a filled in record.


Please see the video on how to complete your peak flows available in the resources below.


PEF instructions for the mini-wright linear meter
Video on how to complete your peak flow measurements


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