Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Records of peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR), commonly used in hospital in the management of asthma, have not been evaluated as a method of identifying cases of asthma in population surveys. Four observers were asked to report on whether asthma was present or absent in 61 graphs of PEFR recorded two hourly for four weeks during surveys of working population. Agreement within individual observers was measured using a subset of 29 graphs which had been copied and distributed at random among the set of 61; agreement was good, from 90% in one observer to 100% in two. Agreement between observers was measured on the basis of all 61 graphs. Agreement occurred between all four observers in 69% of graphs, between at least three out of four in 97%, and, when pairs of observers were examined, between 72% and 93% of graphs. Graphs assessed as showing asthma demonstrated more within day PEFR variability (expressed as the number of days in which the difference between maximum and minimum readings was at least 15%) than graphs assessed as not showing asthma. Some graphs with little within day variability were assessed as showing asthma, apparently because they demonstrated between day PEFR variability.


Journal article



Publication Date





828 - 832


Asthma, Epidemiologic Methods, Forced Expiratory Flow Rates, Humans, Male, Medical Records, Occupational Diseases, Peak Expiratory Flow Rate