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  Children's National's David Wessel Awarded Top Prize By American Heart Association
November 16, 2010

Washington, DCDavid Wessel, MD, senior vice president for Hospital-Based Specialties at Children’s National Medical Center, won the best abstract for Outstanding Research Award in Pediatric Cardiology by the American Heart Association’s Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young.

The AHA will highlight Dr. Wessel’s presentation, “A Randomized Trial of Clopidogrel to Reduce Mortality and Shunt-Related Morbidity in Infants Palliated with a Systemic to Pulmonary Artery Shunt,” during its Scientific Sessions this week in Chicago.

“On behalf of the team of international researchers who worked with me, I’m honored to receive this award from the American Heart Association,” said Dr. Wessel. “So many of the medicines we have to treat children – particularly in the critical care setting – are used off-label, and this work underscores the need to ensure that we study medications for efficacy before they become standard of care in pediatrics.”

Dr. Wessel was the principal investigator and chaired the steering committee for a global trial, Clopidogrel in Neonates/Infants With Systemic To Pulmonary Artery Shunt Palliation (CLARINET). The aim of the study was to see whether the drug known as Plavix, which has been shown to be efficacious in preventing critical thrombosis in adult coronary disease, could prevent shunt thrombosis in infants.

“It is likely that it was the largest trial of a drug ever done in children with congenital heart disease: an international, double-masked, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, in 31 countries on five continents,” noted Dr. Wessel.

A total of 906 infants less than three months of age with cyanotic congenital heart disease palliated with a shunt were randomly assigned to clopidogrel or placebo. The primary efficacy outcome event was the first occurrence of any component of a composite endpoint of death, shunt thrombosis, or a cardiac procedure before 120 days of age following a thrombotic event.

Educated and trained in medicine at Oxford, Yale and Harvard, Dr. Wessel joined Children’s National Medical Center in 2007. An experienced scientist and clinical researcher, Dr. Wessel is widely viewed as the "father of pediatric cardiac intensive care." He is board certified in pediatrics, pediatric critical care, pediatric cardiology, and anesthesiology.

Children’s National is a founding member and one of seven U.S. pediatric intensive care units are part of the NIH sponsored Pediatric Critical Care Research Network. Children’s National is the first and only hospital in the region with a pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.

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For inquiries, contact Children’s National Public Relations: Emily Dammeyer or Paula Darte, 202-476-4500.

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About Children’s National Medical Center:
Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC, has been serving the nation’s children since 1870. Home to Children’s Research Institute and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, Children’s National is consistently ranked among the top pediatric hospitals by U.S.News & World Report and the Leapfrog Group. With 283 beds, more than 1,330 nurses, 550 physicians, and seven regional outpatient centers, Children’s National is the only exclusive provider of pediatric care in the Washington metropolitan area. Children’s National has been recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet® designated hospital, the highest level of recognition for nursing excellence that a medical center can achieve. For more information, visit www.ChildrensNational.org, receive the latest news from the Children's National press room, or follow us Facebook and Twitter.