BACKGROUND In adults performing forceful expiratory maneuvers, the length of post-inspiratory pause prior to forced expiration may influence the subsequently measured peak expiratory flow (PEF) and increase its variability. We investigated the effects of two different lengths of breath-hold at total lung capacity (TLC) on the short-term reproducibility of PEF in healthy volunteers. METHODS Forty-six healthy volunteers (age 34.6+/-8.5; 23 men) performed a series of maximal forceful expirations in two different test sessions, separated by approximately 2 weeks. In each test-session, PEF was measured with two different types of maneuvers. One maneuver (P) included a brief (<2s) post-inspiratory pause at TLC prior to forced expiration, whereas the second maneuver (NP) included no pause at TLC. The speed of inspiration to TLC was fast and similar for both maneuvers. In a given test session, all volunteers performed four efforts for each type of maneuver. The highest PEF for each maneuver was used for analysis. The Bland-Altman statistical analysis was used to determine inter-session reproducibility of PEF. RESULTS Within-maneuver analysis of the between-test session reproducibility of PEF showed that neither maneuver systematically biased the measured PEF (mean difference 0.02L/s for the P and 0.17L/s for the NP maneuver). Inter-maneuver between-test session analysis similarly showed that neither maneuver introduced a systematic bias in the maximal PEF (mean difference ranged from -0.15 to -0.01L/s). The limits of agreement were comparable in all maneuver-pair analyses. CONCLUSIONS Forceful expiratory maneuvers with or without a brief (<2s) pause at TLC produce comparable PEF values in test-retest sessions.