Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF)

A Peak Expiratory Flow test (PEF) helps determine a person’s maximum speed of expiration (breathing out) as measured through a peak flow meter. A patient places the small, hand-held device into their mouth and blows out their breath as hard as they comfortably can. This measures the airflow through your airways and helps us determine the degree of obstruction, if any, in the airways.

Uses of a Peak Expiratory Flow Tests

PEF tests are primarily used for patients with asthma or in patients who may have asthma. The test monitors air flow levels to determine the level of obstruction in the airway. Because asthma sufferers experience a constriction of the airways during an asthma attack, or their airway may consistently be obstructed to some extent, over time and after several tests, your physician can begin to understand the level of obstruction. These readings give your physician a better understanding of how to treat your condition.

Chart Illustrating Peak Expiratory Flow

Normal Values for a PEF Test

Normal values of PEF exams differ depending on sex, age and height. Only your physician can tell you exactly what would be normal for you depending on those variables. The chart listed should give you some idea of what normal levels may look like depending on your age, sex and height.

We may recommend a PEF test at our Urgent Care Center if a patient exhibits breathing issues, we suspect that a patient may have asthma, or if a patient has been previously diagnosed with asthma. This non-invasive, simple exam only takes a few moments and gives our team of providers more information about your condition so they can make a better-informed decision about your health. To learn more about all of the additional screenings, on-site and off-site lab testing, x-rays, or any of the other services available through our Urgent Care Center, simply contact us today at 252-355-4357. No appointment is necessary for a visit, and a physician is always on staff.