Transmural cardiac pressures, stroke volume, right ventricular volume, and lung water content were measured in normal dogs and in dogs with oleic acid-induced pulmonary edema (PE) maintained on positive-pressure ventilation. Measurements were performed prior to and following application of 20 cmH2O positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP). Colloid fluid was given during PEEP for ventricular volume expansion before and after the oleic acid administration. PEEP significantly increased pleural pressure and pulmonary vascular resistance but decreased right ventricular volume, stroke volume, and mean arterial pressure in both normal and PE dogs. Although the fluid infusion during PEEP raised right ventricular diastolic volumes to the pre-PEEP level, the stroke volumes did not significantly increase in either normal dogs or the PE dogs. The fluid infusion, however, significantly increased the lung water content in the PE dogs. Following discontinuation of PEEP, mean arterial pressure, cardiac output, and stroke volume significantly increased, and heart rate did not change. The failure of the stroke volume to increase despite significant right ventricular volume augmentation during PEEP indicates that positive-pressure ventilation with 20 cmH2O PEEP decreases right ventricular function.