Medical Definition of PEEP

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

PEEP: Abbreviation for positive end-expiratory pressure. A method of ventilation in which airway pressure is maintained above atmospheric pressure at the end of exhalation by means of a mechanical impedance, usually a valve, within the circuit. The purpose of PEEP is to increase the volume of gas remaining in the lungs at the end of expiration in order to decrease the shunting of blood through the lungs and improve gas exchange. PEEP is done in ARDS (acute respiratory failure syndrome) to allow reduction in the level of oxygen being given.

Last Editorial Review: 1/25/2017

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