We investigated the histopathologic pulmonary changes induced by mechanical pulmonary ventilation (MV) with a high peak airway pressure and a large tidal volume in healthy baby pigs. Eleven animals were mechanically ventilated at a peak inspiratory pressure (PIP) of 40 cm H2O, a respiratory rate (RR) of 20 min−1, a positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) of 3 to 5 cm H2O, and an FiO2 of 0.4. High airway pressure MV was terminated in 22 ± 11 h because of severe hypoxemia in the animals. Five of the baby pigs were killed for gross and light microscope studies. The pulmonary changes consisted of alveolar hemorrhage, alveolar neutrophil infiltration, alveolar macrophage and type II pneumocyte proliferation, interstitial congestion and thickening, interstitial lymphocyte infiltration, emphysematous change, and hyaline membrane formation. Those lesions were similar to that seen in the early stage of the adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The remaining six animals were treated for 3 to 6 days with conventional respiratory care with appropriate ventilator settings. Prominent organized alveolar exudate in addition to lesions was also found in the five animals. These findings were indistinguishable from the clinical late stage of ARDS. Six control animals were mechanically ventilated at a PIP of less than 18 cm H2O, a RR of 20 min−1, a PEEP of 3 to 5 cm H2O, and an FiO2 of 0.4 for 48 h. They showed no notable changes in lung functions and histopathologic findings. Aggressive MV with a high PIP is often applied to patients with respiratory distress to attain adequate pulmonary gas exchange. Such treatment may affect the underlying disease process of the acute lung injury and may contribute to the specific lung pathology seen in ARDS.