The inexpensive nature of the peak flow rate (PFR) makes it a suitable test of ventilatory function for use in some parts of Africa, where medical facilities are still poor. In order to establish standard values for PFR in Nigeria, anthropometric measurements, lung volumes, and PFR were obtained from 142 men and 88 women, all of whom were healthy Nigerians. The mean values of PFR were 482·1 1/min (±83·3) for males (average age 34·9 years) and 385·6 1/min (±65·7) for females (average age 29·4 years), both means being significantly lower than corresponding means of predicted values calculated from formulae based on previously reported studies of Caucasians. PFR was correlated with age, various physical measurements, and lung volumes. The combination of age and height gave the regression equation for predicting PFR with the lowest standard error of estimates; and virtually all lung volumes measured correlated significantly with PFR. In 16 adult Nigerian asthmatics, PFR correlated significantly with vital capacity, forced expiratory volume (1 second), and expiratory reserve volume; it was highest in those who had no symptomatic or spirometric signs of any ventilatory defect, and lowest in those who had signs of both obstructive and restrictive defects.
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