The ATLAS detector is used to search for high-mass states, such as heavy charged gauge bosons (W'. W*), decaying to a charged lepton (electron or muon) and a neutrino. Results are presented based on the analysis of pp collisions at a center-of-mass energy of 7 TeV corresponding to an integrated luminosity of 36 pb(-1). No excess beyond standard model expectations is observed. A W' with sequential standard model couplings is excluded at 95% confidence level for masses below 1.49 TeV, and a W* (charged chiral boson) for masses below 1.35 TeV. (C) 2011 CERN. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.