PMD Healthcare Blog


PMD Healthcare Blog


Personal Spirometers, Peak Flow Meters, Incentive Spirometers, and Oximeters Defined

It is difficult to gauge cost efficiency when pricing various pulmonary and lung-function meters, especially when the definitions or intent of these meters is confusing. In reality, each meter offers a unique treatment and/or has a distinct diagnostic ability. Also, some meters are more effective and accurate than others. All of these points contribute to price variations.

At PMD Healthcare, we want you to be armed with the best information to make informed choices for yourself or your loved ones.

Let's look at the most common pulmonary and lung function meters to clear up any confusion. 


Personal Spirometer (The Gold Standard)

The spirometer not only measures how well your lungs are functioning, but it can gauge early changes in lung function to help stave off future issues. It has the ability to measure the amount of air you are capable of inhaling and exhaling, too.  

Spirometers are considered the gold standard for superb accuracy and ease of use in several pulmonary diseases. It is so accurate, in fact, that hospitals and doctor’s offices use it as a diagnostic tool and to measure changes in lung function.

The personal spirometer is used to monitor lungs at home or in between office visits, and it is used in conjunction with the following:

  • Asthma
  • Cystic Fibrosis 
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Lung Transplant
  • Other

Some spirometers are also intuitive and will alert you if you have performed the test incorrectly. 


Peak Flow Meter

This device is also indicated to measure breathing capacity--blowing, inhaling, exhaling--however it is not noted for accuracy. In other words, it is not the gold standard when it comes to diagnosing and managing lung related diseases. It may pick up on changes in lung function, but it is not the superior choice. 

Peak Flow Meters are commonly used for:

  • Asthma


Incentive Spirometer

This device is intended to exercise and strengthen the lungs following surgery or in conditions like pneumonia, and it can make lungs more durable or clear in conditions like COPD. It is not intuitive, however, and cannot measure lung changes to optimize future treatment plans. 

Incentive Spirometer are commonly used for:

  • People who have recently been hospitalized to help them exercise their lungs.



The oximeter measures blood oxygen levels or oxygen contained in the blood. It is accurate when it comes to this type of oxygen measurement, but it is not recommended in association with asthma. Oxygen levels in asthma often fall quickly, and by the time the level is measured, breathing may already be labored. 


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When it comes to caring for loved ones with cystic fibrosis or other lung disorders, nothing but the gold standard will do. Contact us using the link below for more information. 

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