Peak Flow Meter and Inhaler Explanation/Technique


  • Wash hands, introduce self to patient, check patient name and DOB, explain reason and gain consent

Before starting

  • It is a good idea to check the patient’s own understanding of asthma and their condition, PEFR and why it is used, and the importance of inhaler technique
    • Explain the use of PEFR/inhaler and any gaps in knowledge where necessary
      • Use first thing in the morning and during an exacerbation; or more regularly when their asthma is bad
  • Ask how regularly they are using their inhalers, whether they are having an effect, whether they have any side effects etc

PEFR Explanation 

NB Good idea to explain and demonstrate (either one after the other or simultaneously) before asking the patient to explain and demonstrate.

  • Attach a clean mouthpiece
  • Ensure the marker is set to 0
  • Stand up or sit upright
  • Hold the peak flow meter horizontal, keeping your fingers clear of the marker
  • Take as deep a breath in as you can and hold it
  • Place the mouthpiece in your mouth and form a tight a seal as possible around it with your lips
  • Breathe out as hard as you can
  • Observe and record the reading
  • Repeat the process 3-6 times, recording only the highest reading
    • Compare this with previous readings and/or with norm for age, sex and height
    • Normal_values_for_peak_expiratory_flow_-_EU_scale

Explanation of Inhaler technique

  • Vigorously shake the inhaler and remove the cap
  • Hold the inhaler upright and close to your mouth between the index finger (top) and thumb (base)
  • Breathe out completely
  • Put the mouthpiece in your mouth, breathe in deeply whilst activating the inhaler canister at the same time
  • Hold you breath for 10 secs before breathing out
  • If necessary, repeat after 1 minute
  • Check patient understanding and ask them to explain/demonstrate


  • Reassess understanding
  • Thank patient
  • (Wash hands)

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