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Objective: The objective of this study was to analyze the association between candidate gene polymorphisms and susceptibility to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in patients with severe sepsis. Methods: Patients older than 18 years admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) with the diagnosis of severe sepsis were prospectively included. A blood sample was drawn on the first day of ICU admission, and DNA was extracted. We genotyped the insertion/deletion polymorphism of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) gene (polymerase chain reaction) and the following single-nucleotide polymorphisms (TaqMan SNP genotyping assay): tumor necrosis factor α -376 G/A, -308 G/A, and -238 G/A; interleukin 8 -251 T/A; pre–B cell colony-enhancing factor -1001 G/T; and vascular endothelial growth factor +405 C/G and +936 C/T. Polymorphisms were selected based on reports on their association with ARDS. Variables associated in univariate analysis (P < 0.1) with the diagnosis of ARDS were included in a multiple logistic regression analysis. Results: We studied 149 patients, of whom 35 presented ARDS. Variables included in the maximal multivariate model were male sex, chronic alcoholism, use of ACE inhibitors or angiotensin-receptor blockers, Simplified Acute Physiology Score II score, serum glucose concentration at ICU admission, and the presence of the allele D of the ACE gene. After adjustment for those variables, the presence of the allele D of the ACE gene (odds ratio, 4.75; 95% confidence interval, 1.02–22.20; P = 0.048) was significantly associated with the diagnosis of ARDS. Conclusion: The presence of the allele D of the ACE gene is associated with ARDS in patients with severe sepsis.