Experts have developed a new portable peak flow meter, which measures airflow. The new device could help with the earlier diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to improve a patient’s range of activities, quality of life and productivity.
The research was presented at the Second World Conference of COPD Patient Organisations, in China in November 2011.
The new portable device is easy to use, particularly at a community level when there are shortages of respiratory specialists. The research showed that using the portable peak flow meter can identify early symptoms of COPD with high levels of accuracy and specificity of up to 80%.
The research also found that testing can be carried out more effectively at a community level by primary care doctors when expensive devices, such as CT scanners, are not available.
The authors emphasised that preventative measures that target COPD in its early stages should be the basis of treatment for this disease.