David Wessel, MD Chief Medical Officer, Hospital and Specialty Services


  • Main Hospital Washington, District of Columbia 20010 1-888-884-BEAR (2327)

Languages Spoken

  • English


Board Certifications

  • American Board of Anesthesiology
  • American Board of Pediatrics
  • American Board of Pediatrics/Pediatric Cardiology
  • American Board of Pediatrics/Critical Care


David Wessel, MD, is internationally known for his pioneering work in caring for infants with heart disease. Dr. Wessel is Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Hospital and Specialty Services, and The Ikaria Distinguished Professor of Critical Care Medicine at Children's National Health System. He also is Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine and of Pediatrics at George Washington University.

An experienced scientist and clinical researcher, Dr. Wessel helped design and execute seminal studies in cardiac critical care, develop new therapies for perioperative care of the newborn with congenital heart disease and novel treatments for pulmonary hypertension. Dr. Wessel continues his work in designing and executing large multi-national and multi-center randomized trials in children. He is a principal investigator and member of the steering committee for the Collaborative Pediatric Critical Care Research Network sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. In 2012, Dr. Wessel received the prestigious Meritorious Achievement Award from the American Heart Association (AHA) Council on Cardiovascular Disease of the Young. The award is a national career achievement award recognizing an individual who has made a significant impact in the field of pediatric cardiovascular disease. 

Dr. Wessel previously was a professor of pediatrics (anesthesia) at the Harvard Medical School. He was chief of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Boston Children’s for many years and previously served as president of the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Society.

Education & Training

Education & Training

  • Fellowship Program, Anesthesiology, 1985
    Children's Hospital Boston
  • Fellowship Program, Pediatric Cardiology, 1985
    Children's Hospital Boston
  • Residency Program, Anesthesiology, 1983
    Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Fellowship Program, Pediatric Cardiology, 1981
    Yale New Haven Children's Hospital
  • Residency Program, Pediatrics, 1980
    Yale New Haven Children's Hospital
  • Internship Program, Pediatrics, 1979
    Yale New Haven Children's Hospital
  • MD, 1978
    Yale University School of Medicine
Patient Stories

Patient Stories: David Wessel

Patient story

Alexis's Story

"She likes to show off her scar and tell whoever listens that Children's National fixed her heart."

Owen's Story

"We are so thankful that we chose the remarkable doctors at Children's National to care for our son. The compassion and care that were given not just to Owen, but to our entire family, is something we will forever be grateful for."

Patient story

Sarah's Story

"I know how difficult it is, when you don't have all the answers, and are not getting much sleep in the hospital with your child. I want to assure you that the answers will come."



Research & Publications

Research & Publications

Critical Care for Congenital Cardiac Disease

(2011) Furhman BP, Zimmerman JJ, ed. Pediatric Intensive Care. Elsevier Science

Duncan BW ed Mechanical Support for Cardiac Respiratory Failure in Pediatric Patients

(2001) Intensive care management of cardiac patients on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

Endocarditis due to Corynebacterium Diphtheriae A case report and review of the literature

(2000) Pediatr Infect Dis J

Endocarditis due to Corynebacterium Diphtheriae A case report and review of the literature

(2000) Pediatr Infect Dis J

Gregory GA ed

(2001) Pediatric Anesthesia 4th ed

Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome with Intact Atrial Septum Sequelae of Left Atrial Hypertension in Utero

(2011) JACC, J Am Coll Cardiol

Nichols David G ed The Rogers Textbook of Pediatric Intensive Care 4th Edition

(2008) Postoperative Care of the Pediatric Cardiac Surgical Patient: General Considerations

Pharmacologic management of low cardiac output syndrome after congenital heart surgery Society of Critical Care Medicine

(2004) Shanley TB, ed. Current Concepts in Pediatric Critical Care

Pulmonary vasodilators

(2008) Munoz R, Schmitt C, Roth S, Da Cruz E, eds. Handbook of Pediatric Cardiovascular Drugs.

Treatment of postoperative pulmonary hypertension

(2006) Beghetti M, eds. Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Associated with Congenital Heart Disease.

View publications on PubMed

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