Surfactant therapy is effective in improving the outcome of very preterm infants. Trials have studied a wide variety of surfactant preparations used either to prevent or treat respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). In animal models, prophylactic surfactant leads to more homogeneous distribution and less evidence of lung damage. However, administration requires intubation and treatment of infants who will not go on to develop RDS. This is of particular concern with the advent of improved approaches to providing continuous distending pressure, particularly in the form of nasal continuous positive airway pressure (NCPAP).