BACKGROUND--The "Escort" spirometer is a lightweight, hand held spirometer employing a Fleisch pneumotachograph. Measurements of forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), and peak expiratory flow (PEF) are obtained from a single FVC manoeuvre. Results are displayed on a small liquid crystal display, but there is no graphical display. The performance of the Escort spirometer has been compared with that of a wedge bellows spirometer (Vitalograph S model) and a Wright PEF meter. METHODS--One hundred and thirteen subjects performed three FVC manoeuvres on the wedge bellows and Escort spirometers and three PEF manoeuvres on the Wright meter. The best reading for each index was recorded. In 21 of the subjects comparison of a Wright manoeuvre with an FVC manoeuvre on the Escort spirometer was performed, whilst in three subjects the effect of repeated blows was studied. RESULTS--The FEV1 ranged from 0.5 to 5.4 litres, FVC from 1.05 to 6.2 litres, and PEF from 100 to 725 l/min. The mean (SD) difference for the FEV1 was -0.05 (0.15) (95% confidence interval (95% CI) -0.07 to -0.02) litres, for FVC 0.03 (0.28) (95% CI -0.02 to +0.08) litres, and for PEF 1.68 (50.6) (95% CI -7.7 to +11.1) l/min. The differences were positively correlated with the mean reading for PEF and FVC but not for FEV1. The Wright PEF manoeuvre performed on the Escort produced significantly higher PEF readings (mean difference -22.9 litres). There was no significant effect of repeated FVC manoeuvres on any of the indices. CONCLUSIONS--The Escort spirometer compares extremely well with a wedge bellows spirometer for measurement of FEV1 and FVC, whilst yielding results of PEF from an FVC manoeuvre which are comparable to those obtained from a Wright meter. It can be recommended for use as a portable hand held spirometer.
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