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Using peak-flow meters as part of self-management plans for children's asthma does not improve the quality of patient care, new research suggests.

Plans incorporating the meters did not improve mean symptom scores, spirometric lung function, quality-of-life scores or use of health services over a 12-week period.

Children often needed to step up inhaled steroids despite failing to reach the threshold of 70 per cent peak expiratory flow, according to the University of Leicester study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (September).

Professor Mike Silverman, study author and head of the department of child health at the University of Leicester, said routine use of peak flow meters could now be ruled out for moderate asthma.

But Dr Dermot Ryan, a GP in Loughborough, Leicestershire, claimed peak flow meters still had their place in self-management for children.

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