A set of 26 flow/time waveforms, developed to evaluate peak expiratory flow (PEF) meters, were described. Flow/time waveforms were obtained from 26 subjects participating in various NIOSH studies. Spirometric analyses were conducted on each subject and the temperature of the exit air was measured. The waveforms were filtered, and phase distortion was eliminated. PEFs were calculated using two different methods: the first determined PEF from flow/time data and the second from volume/time data. Differences of up to 10.7% resulted in comparisons of PEFs obtained from flow time curves and volume time curves when the waveform had a fast rise time. The differences between these values were very small for waveforms with slower rise times. The method used to determine the flow for volume time curves was seen to influence the PEF. From this study the authors conclude that the 26 flow time waveforms investigated can be used to test PEF meters, and also to define PEF in testing software algorithms.
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