A peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) — alone (ie, without spirometry) — is good for detecting patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the community, according to UK researchers. Data from a cross-sectional national survey of 3874 adults aged 50–90 years found that a PEFR of less than 80% detected more than 90% of the subjects with COPD, including all of those with moderate or severe disease. Although sensitive for COPD, it was not as specific; however, many of the false positive results were in smokers.
Publication of your online response is subject to the Medical Journal of Australia's editorial discretion. You will be notified by email within five working days should your response be accepted.