Positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) maintains airway pressure above atmospheric at the end of expiration, and may be used with mechanical ventilation or spontaneous breathing. CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, refers to spontaneous ventilation with a positive airway pressure being maintained throughout the whole respiratory cycle. PEEP/CPAP primarily improves oxygenation by increasing functional residual capacity, and may increase lung compliance and decrease the work of breathing. PEEP/CPAP may be applied using endotracheal tubes, nasal masks or prongs, or face masks or chambers to treat a wide range of adult and paediatric respiratory disorders. Complications associated with their use relate to the pressures applied and include pulmonary barotrauma, decreased cardiac output and raised intracranial pressure.