A graduate of University College Dublin (1923), Kerley spent a year training in radiology in Vienna. He obtained his M.D. from the University of Ireland in 1939. He was Director of Radiology at the Westminster Hospital and was also affiliated with the Royal Chest Hospital, London. He had a ready wit, enjoyed life outdoors and had a flair for diagnosing the unusualTemplate:Ciitation needed. In 1959 he became a member of honour of the Chicago Radiological Society, and in 1962 he was made a Fellow of Honour of the Faculty of Radiologists, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin. The Sir Peter Kerley Lecture of the Royal College of Radiologists is named for him.
He discovered several of the medical signs used in interpreting radiographs. Kerley B lines are a finding of congestive heart failure. These are short parallel lines perpendicular to the lateral lung surface, indicative of increased opacity in the pulmonary septa. Kerley A lines and Kerley C lines are related findings.
- "Munks Roll Details for Sir Peter James Kerley". Retrieved 9 November 2015.
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