Study objectives: To compare in a clinical setting the within-session reproducibility of two pulmonary function electronic monitoring devices (PiKo-1; Ferraris Respiratory Europe; Hereford, UK; and Spirotel; MIR; Rome, Italy) with one mechanical device (Mini-Wright Peak-Flow Meter; Clement-Clarke International; Harlow, Essex, UK), and to evaluate the accuracy of these devices using as reference an office pneumotachograph.
Design, setting, and participants: After detailed instructions, adults without airways diseases and patients with stable asthma attending an outpatient clinic performed four sets of expiratory maneuvers, one set for each device, in a strictly random order. Each set comprised three maneuvers with 2 to 3 min of rest between them.
Measurements: Reproducibility of FEV1 and peak expiratory flow (PEF) was assessed by a coefficient of variation (CV) and intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), and accuracy was assessed by ICC and limits of agreement.
Results: Of the 38 participants evaluated, 71% were women and 61% had asthma. Ages ranged from 18 to 58 years, and FEV1 ranged from 1.2 to 4.8 L. In all monitoring devices, CV was < 6% and ICC was > 0.94 for the reproducibility of both FEV1 and PEF measurements. The accuracy of the PiKo-1 device was better for FEV1 (ICC = 0.98) than for PEF (ICC = 0.90). The Spirotel device had similar results for FEV1 and PEF (ICC = 0.95). The Mini-Wright device had the lowest accuracy (ICC = 0.87), particularly for PEF values < 500 L/min.
Conclusions: These low-cost and easy-to-use electronic monitoring devices showed a very good reproducibility and were in agreement with the pneumotachograph. Therefore, the PiKo-1 and Spirotel devices seem adequate for both screening and monitoring. However, prospective studies are still needed to assess their long-term reproducibility and usability and, particularly, the effects on the improvement of respiratory care.