Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Risk Factors Symptoms triggers Evaluation peak flow testing Treatment drug therapy specialist Home Care proper inhaler use warning signs Prevention Underlying Cause Anatomy

Episodes of Wheezing Evaluation

The evaluation of wheezing begins with a history and physical exam.

Physical findings in someone with wheezing may include:


Tests are not necessary to detect wheezing.

Tests that may be used to evaluate wheezing include:

For more information:

Episodes of Wheezing Peak Flow Testing

The peak expiratory flow rate or PEFR is used to assess the severity of wheezing in those who have asthma. PEFR measures how quickly a person can exhale air from the lungs. You need to have peak flow meter device if you want to measure your PEFR.

It is important to learn the proper technique for using your peak flow meter. Younger children can have trouble with this, but most children over 5 years of age can learn how to use the peak flow meter correctly.

Important values for you to know:

  • Your personal best PEFR:
    • This is the highest PEFR you can blow when you don't have asthma symptoms.
    • Make this determination when you feel good.
  • Your peak flow zone:
    • Make this determination only when you have asthma symptoms
    • Your PEFR zone is measured by how close your current PEFR is to your personal best PEFR.

PEFR zones:
  • Green Zone:
    • Your current PEFR is 80-100% of personal best PEFR
    • This is a mild asthma attack
    • You should have a treatment strategy in place for when you are in the green zone
  • Yellow Zone:
    • Your current PEFR is 50-80% of personal best PEFR
    • This is a moderate asthma attack
    • You should have a treatment strategy in place for when you are in the yellow zone
  • Red Zone:
    • Your current PEFR is less than 50% of personal best PEFR
    • This is a severe asthma attack and will need to see a doctor now.
    • You should have a treatment strategy in place for when you are in the red zone

Continue to Episodes of Wheezing Treatment

Last Updated: Jan 7, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
Copyright DSHI Systems, Inc. Powered by: FreeMD - Your Virtual Doctor

PubMed Episodes of Wheezing References
  1. Castro-Rodriguez JA, Rodrigo GJ. beta-agonists through metered-dose inhaler with valved holding chamber versus nebulizer for acute exacerbation of wheezing or asthma in children under 5 years of age: a systematic review with meta-analysis. J Pediatr. 2004 Aug;145(2):172-7. [15289762]
  2. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Allergy Asthma Proc. 2004 Jul-Aug;25(4 Suppl 1):S40-1. [15515377]
  3. Keeley D, McKean M. Asthma and other wheezing disorders of childhood. Clin Evid. 2003 Jun;(9):287-317. [15366138]
  4. Miranowski AC, Grammer LC. Occupational immunologic lung disease. Allergy Asthma Proc. 2004 Jul-Aug;25(4 Suppl 1):S36-7. [15515375]
  5. Roback MG, Dreitlein DA. Chest radiograph in the evaluation of first time wheezing episodes: review of current clinical practice and efficacy. Pediatr Emerg Care. 1998 Jun;14(3):181-4. [9655657]
FreeMD is provided for information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for evaluation and treatment by a physician. Please review our terms of use.