An experimental model was devised to study the effects of a sustained insufflation maneuver on the immediate response to exogenous surfactant administration and the effects of baseline pulmonary volume subsequently used in 20 adult albino rats. Lung-injury was induced by repeated lavages with saline solution. Gas exchange, hemodynamic status, lung mechanics and histopathology were assessed. The rats were divided into four experimental groups. Group 1 was delivered 30 cm H2O sustained insufflation over 15 seconds prior to the surfactant. It was subsequently ventilated at positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) of 10 cm H2O. Group 2 did not receive sustained insufflation and was ventilated at PEEP of 10 cm H2O. Group 3 was delivered sustained insufflation and was ventilated with PEEP of 4 cm H2O; and group 4 did not receive sustained insufflation and was ventilated with PEEP of 4 cm H2O. The surfactant immediate effect was not modified by previous sustained insufflation administration. Increased PaO2 associated to high functional residual capacity (FRC) (Group 1 p = 0.0001; Group 2 p = 0.0001), regardless of sustained insufflation, was observed. The use of sustained insufflation prior to surfactant administration along with high FRC ventilation was associated with polymorphonuclear infiltrates beneath the bronchiolar epithelium (p = 0.008). Our results do not advocate the use of sustained insufflation prior to the administration of exogenous surfactant.