Since peak flow meters were first made available on FP10 prescription in 1990, they have become widely used in general practice for the diagnosis and monitoring of asthma. Patients can also use them at home as part of a self-management plan.1 Now there is increasing interest in the use of spirometers in general practice for diagnosing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and monitoring patients' progress. We consider how peak flow monitoring and spirometry can be used to greatest advantage in general practice.
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