Effects of PEEP on cardiac function, myocardial blood flow (MBF) and myocardial oxygen consumption (mVO2) were studied in eight mongrel dogs anesthetized with pentobarbital. Myocardial oxygen demand was increased by isoproterenol infusion or atrial pacing, or decreased by β-receptor blockade. PEEP was set to 15 cm H2O in all groups. The greatest reduction in cardiac output due to PEEP was seen during isoproterenol infusion (44%), and the smallest during β-receptor blockade (18%). This is attributed to increased sensitivity to the reduced left ventricular (LV) preload induced by PEEP, when cardiac inotropy is augmented by isoproterenol, compared to normal and reduced cardiac inotropy. PEEP decreased MBF similarly and significantly in all groups. However, myocardial oxygen extraction did not increase, and reduction in MBF caused by PEEP was closely related to concomitant reduction in mVO2; A significant correlation was also observed between reductions in I.N work and reduction in mVO2 when PEEP was applied in all groups. We conclude that the reduced MBF observed with use of PEEP was probably due to reduced myocardial oxygen demand.