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October 28, 1974

Self-Measurements for Asthma

JAMA. 1974;230(4):537-538. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240040015009

To the Editor.—  Julius et al (229:663, 1974) have documented well the value of self-determined blood pressure readings in the management of "labile" hypertension. Their article, which emphasizes again the patient as partner, prompts me to recapitulate observations on the use of daily peak expiratory flow (PEF) measurements, taken by the patient at home or at work, for the investigation and the control of variable ("labile") obstructive lung disease.The instrument in common use is the Wright peak expiratory flow meter, a small, portable, and relatively simple apparatus, which almost anybody above the age of 4 or 5 years can learn to use reliably. Self-determinations of PEF by the patient two to four times daily, under diverse conditions of exposure, activity, and medication, provide a meaningful record of intermittent obstruction of the airways (Ann Allergy 30:443, 1972). More sophisticated techniques, such as spirometry, plethysmography, and gas dilution studies, performed only