Acute lung injury (ALI) and its more severe form, the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), are common complications of acute pancreatitis (AP). ALI/ARDS contribute to the majority of AP-associated deaths, particularly in the setting of secondary infection. Following secondary pulmonary infection there can be an exacerbation of AP-associated lung injury, greater than the sum of the individual injuries alone. The precise mechanisms underlying this synergism, however, are not known. In this review we discuss the main factors contributing to the development of augmented lung injury following secondary infection during AP and review the established models of AP in regard to the development of associated ALI.