Gender differences in the use of peak flow meters and their effect on peak expiratory flow

01 Apr 2005
Respiratory conditions
  • ACO (Asthma COPD Overlap)
  • Asthma
  • COPD
Respiratory topics
  • Disease management
  • Diagnosis
Type of resource
Peer-reviewed article
Author(s)
Self TH, Cross LB, Nolan SE, Weibel JB, Hilaire M, Franks AR, Finch CK, Tolley EA

STUDY OBJECTIVE

To determine if gender differences in the skill of using peak flow meters affect peak expiratory flow (PEF).

DESIGN

Prospective observational study.

SETTING

University classroom.

SUBJECTS

One hundred sixteen first-year pharmacy students (76 women, 40 men).

INTERVENTION

Students were taught correct use of a peak flow meter by means of classroom discussion and demonstrations.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS

The students' technique in use of the peak flow meter was scored 3 times, and their PEF was recorded. Men scored higher than women (p=0.03) for the steps of "inhale fully" and "exhale as hard and as fast as you can" in the first attempt. Percentage increases in PEF did not significantly differ between the groups. Percentage change in PEF improved from the second attempt to the third attempt in women (p=0.036) but not men. On the third attempt, 13.2% of women versus 2.6% of men had an increase in PEF of more than 50% (p=0.1).

CONCLUSION

This study found that men learned the correct technique for using a peak flow meter and attained their best PEF more quickly than women.