What difference does it make to me as a patient ?
The change has occurred because scientists and asthma specialists have found better ways of measuring the speed of air that comes out of your lungs when you take a peak flow measurement. The new 'Standard' will result in small improvements to the accuracy of the meters that have been used, and are being implemented by all the top companies who manufacture this type of medical device. By the end of 2004, all new peak flow meters given to patients will be of the new type (referred to as the new 'EU' scale or 'EN 13826').
These new peak flow meters, manufactured during 2004, will be slightly different to those from 2003 and before - the following section may help answer any questions you have, and your Doctor or Asthma Specialist can reassure you if you have any concerns.
What difference will I see?
If you have a Mini-Wright, the scale will be different colour - blue text printed on a yellow background. Apart from the scale, the new meter will behave and handle as reliably as the old meter.
Are the readings the same?
I keep a peak flow diary, and have been given a new meter - do I have to start again?
After a few weeks, you will have continued your Diary, with all recent readings from the new peak flow meter. If ever you need to refer to your old Diary, just remember to convert the reading.
In the U.K., old-scale P.E.F. meters will no longer be available on prescription after 2004. EU-scale meters will be replacing them from September 1st 2004.
The next time you see your asthma specialist or Doctor, discuss the need to update your peak flow meter with them. They may also need to update their peak flow meter, and it would be sensible for them and you to have meters that both read in the same way, so that your PEF readings in the Doctor's office can be compared to those achieved at home.
My Doctor's/Nurse's peak flow meter is different to mine. Will that make a difference?
If both you and your Doctor have Mini-Wrights, but one is the old 'Wright' scale, and the other a new 'EU' scale, then convert one of the readings using our on-screen converter. (Click here to convert your readings)
As only the scale on the Mini-Wright has been updated, you can quickly generate your new 'EU' scale equivalent to your 'best ever' reading, even though it came from your old peak flow meter. (Click here to convert your readings )
As the Mini-Wright Low Range meter only measures between 30 and 400 l/min, this meter cannot officially be marked as 'EN 13826 compliant', but it will display the 'EU' symbol to help with recognition.
A concession by the U.K. Government's authorities will ensure that health professionals can still prescribe a low range meter for children, the elderly and those with severe asthma. The situation in other countries in Europe remains unclear, but Clement Clarke will make the Low Range Mini-Wright meter available to all who request it.
1. Look at the meter and its instruction leaflet. Often there is a description of the meter and who manufactured it.
3. Ask the person who supplied your peak flow meter, what scale it is, and who manufactured it.
Note 1. During 2004, countries across Europe will be introducing the new 'EU' Scale meter, which will have full details of the type of meter, and the company who manufactured it included. Meters that do not have this detail are not compliant with the new Standard, and therefore may not be able to monitor lung function accurately.
Note 2. From January 1st 2005, all meters sold in Europe should comply with the new 'EU' Standard 'EN 13826). If you have been provided with a meter that does not state 'EN 13826' on its packaging or on the meter itself, discuss whether you should use it with your health professional.