Pneumoperitoneum for laparoscopic surgery is associated with a rise of driving pressure. The authors aimed to assess the effects of positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) on driving pressure at varying intraabdominal pressure levels. It was hypothesized that PEEP attenuates pneumoperitoneum-related rises in driving pressure.


Open-label, nonrandomized, crossover, clinical trial in patients undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy. “Targeted PEEP” (2 cm H2O above intraabdominal pressure) was compared with “standard PEEP” (5 cm H2O), with respect to the transpulmonary and respiratory system driving pressure at three predefined intraabdominal pressure levels, and each patient was ventilated with two levels of PEEP at the three intraabdominal pressure levels in the same sequence. The primary outcome was the difference in transpulmonary driving pressure between targeted PEEP and standard PEEP at the three levels of intraabdominal pressure.


Thirty patients were included and analyzed. Targeted PEEP was 10, 14, and 17 cm H2O at intraabdominal pressure of 8, 12, and 15 mmHg, respectively. Compared to standard PEEP, targeted PEEP resulted in lower median transpulmonary driving pressure at intraabdominal pressure of 8 mmHg (7 [5 to 8] vs. 9 [7 to 11] cm H2O; P = 0.010; difference 2 [95% CI 0.5 to 4 cm H2O]); 12 mmHg (7 [4 to 9] vs.10 [7 to 12] cm H2O; P = 0.002; difference 3 [1 to 5] cm H2O); and 15 mmHg (7 [6 to 9] vs.12 [8 to 15] cm H2O; P < 0.001; difference 4 [2 to 6] cm H2O). The effects of targeted PEEP compared to standard PEEP on respiratory system driving pressure were comparable to the effects on transpulmonary driving pressure, though respiratory system driving pressure was higher than transpulmonary driving pressure at all intraabdominal pressure levels.


Transpulmonary driving pressure rises with an increase in intraabdominal pressure, an effect that can be counterbalanced by targeted PEEP. Future studies have to elucidate which combination of PEEP and intraabdominal pressure is best in term of clinical outcomes.

Editor’s Perspective
What We Already Know about This Topic
  • Transpulmonary driving pressure (ratio of tidal volume to respiratory system compliance) increases with increased intraabdominal pressure during laparoscopic surgery. High transpulmonary driving pressure during laparoscopic surgery is associated with increased risk of postoperative pulmonary complications.

  • Intraoperative positive end-expiratory pressure prevents atelectasis, but may also cause overdistension.

What This Article Tells Us That Is New
  • This single-center study found that titrating intraoperative positive end-expiratory pressure in relation to observed intraabdominal pressure may counterbalance pneumoperitoneum-related rises in transpulmonary driving pressure during laparoscopic cholecystectomies.

You do not currently have access to this content.