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Emergency Medical Minute


Aug 29, 2022

Contributor: Dylan Luyten, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Positive End Expiratory Pressure (PEEP) is positive pressure within the lungs and maintained throughout the entire respiratory cycle. It is the pressure preventing alveoli from collapsing at the end of exhalation. 
  • When using a bag valve mask (BVM) to ventilate patients, always attach the PEEP valve to prevent intrathoracic pressure from returning to atmospheric pressure which would allow alveoli collapse.    
  • A BVM with a good seal to patients face and with an attached PEEP valve provides the same support as BiPAP or CPAP.  
  • A generally acceptable PEEP setting is 5 cmH2O. 


Mora Carpio AL, Mora JI. Positive End-Expiratory Pressure. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; August 27, 2021.

Harrison MJ. PEEP and CPAP. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1986;292(6521):643-644. doi:10.1136/bmj.292.6521.643

Summarized by Kirsten Hughes, MS4 | Edited by John Spartz, MD & Erik Verzemnieks, MD


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