A Peak Flow Meter is an inexpensive, portable, hand-held device. Your doctor or nurse will advise you which make and type to use.
The device measures how hard and quickly you can blow air out of your lungs.
The meter has a marker that slides up the scale as you blow out. The better your lung function, the harder you will be able to blow out and the higher your peak flow score will be.
Monitoring your peak flow numbers shows:
* how your lung function is improving
* the effect of such treatments as breathing exercises on your lung function
* and when your lung function has returned to its pre- surgery level.
To use your peak flow meter, first make sure the marker on the meter scale is at zero.
Preferably stand or sit up straight. Remove any gum or food from your mouth. Hold the peak flow meter horizontal with your fingers away from the scale.
Take as deep a breath in as you can,
close your lips firmly round the mouthpiece and blow out as hard and as fast as you can - just like blowing out candles on a birthday cake.
Check the reading on the meter scale, in this case 400 liters per minute and write it down.
Move the marker back to zero.
Repeat the entire routine two more times for a total of three times. The three readings you get should be close together.
Record the highest of the three readings in your log or diary.
Your doctor or nurse will tell you how often and when each day to record your readings.
Take your log with you when you return for follow-up visits to your surgical team. They will be able to monitor your progress and see when your lung function has returned to its pre-surgery value.