Karen Burns


Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute


Dr. Karen Burns practices critical care medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. She is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, a Clinician Scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, and an Associate Member of the School of Graduate Studies with the Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation (University of Toronto) and the Department of Clinical Epidemiology (McMaster University).

Dr. Burns’ research program focuses on evaluating strategies to liberate critically ill patients from mechanical ventilation and characterizing practice variation in weaning critically ill adults from ventilators. Her research program includes large scale observational studies, national and international weaning surveys, meta-analyses, and randomized trials comparing different weaning strategies. She also has developed a research program to characterize the unique aspects of the consent processes in critical care. Additional research interests include acute kidney injury in the intensive care unit, using noninvasive positive pressure ventilation as a weaning strategy, and methodology issues related to study design, implementation, and reporting.

Dr. Burns has been the recipient of several personnel awards including a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Clinician Scientist Award, a Ministry of Research and Innovation Award and a University of Toronto Merritt Committee Award.

Dr. Burns is an Executive Member of the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group and is the Scientific Chair of the Canadian Critical Care Society.


Recent Publications

  1. Tricco, AC, Lachance, CC, Rios, P, Darvesh, N, Antony, J, Radhakrishnan, A et al.. Global evidence of gender inequity in academic health research: a living scoping review protocol. JBI Evid Synth. 2020; :. doi: 10.11124/JBIES-20-00078. PubMed PMID:32925395 .
  2. Guia, M, Ciobanu, LD, Sreedharan, JK, Abdelrahim, ME, Gonçalves, G, Cabrita, B et al.. The role of non-invasive ventilation in weaning and decannulating critically ill patients with tracheostomy: A narrative review of the literature. Pulmonology. 2020; :. doi: 10.1016/j.pulmoe.2020.07.002. PubMed PMID:32723618 .
  3. Gonçalves, G, Saeed, H, Abdelrahim, ME, Harb, HS, Madney, YM, Eng, K et al.. Non-invasive ventilation in patients with an altered level of consciousness. A clinical review and practical insights. Adv Respir Med. 2020;88 (3):233-244. doi: 10.5603/ARM.2020.0110. PubMed PMID:32706107 .
  4. Chaudhuri, D, Granton, D, Wang, DX, Burns, KEA, Helviz, Y, Einav, S et al.. High-Flow Nasal Cannula in the Immediate Postoperative Period: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Chest. 2020; :. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2020.06.038. PubMed PMID:32615190 .
  5. Agarwal, A, Basmaji, J, Muttalib, F, Granton, D, Chaudhuri, D, Chetan, D et al.. High-flow nasal cannula for acute hypoxemic respiratory failure in patients with COVID-19: systematic reviews of effectiveness and its risks of aerosolization, dispersion, and infection transmission. Can J Anaesth. 2020;67 (9):1217-1248. doi: 10.1007/s12630-020-01740-2. PubMed PMID:32542464 PubMed Central PMC7294988.
  6. Parsons Leigh, J, de Grood, C, Ahmed, S, Bosma, K, Burns, KEA, Fowler, R et al.. Improving gender equity in critical care medicine: a protocol to establish priorities and strategies for implementation. BMJ Open. 2020;10 (6):e037090. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-037090. PubMed PMID:32532779 PubMed Central PMC7295422.
  7. D'Aragon, F, Lamontagne, F, Cook, D, Dhanani, S, Keenan, S, Chassé, M et al.. Variability in deceased donor care in Canada: a report of the Canada-DONATE cohort study. Can J Anaesth. 2020;67 (8):992-1004. doi: 10.1007/s12630-020-01692-7. PubMed PMID:32385825 .
  8. Burns, KEA. 10 Ways to Empower Yourself as a Woman in Science or Academic Medicine. Am. J. Med. 2020;133 (8):881-882. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2020.02.044. PubMed PMID:32302610 .
  9. Chaudhuri, D, Granton, D, Wang, DX, Einav, S, Helviz, Y, Mauri, T et al.. Moderate Certainty Evidence Suggests the Use of High-Flow Nasal Cannula Does Not Decrease Hypoxia When Compared With Conventional Oxygen Therapy in the Peri-Intubation Period: Results of a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Crit. Care Med. 2020;48 (4):571-578. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000004217. PubMed PMID:32205604 .
  10. Arabi, YM, Burns, KEA, Alsolamy, SJ, Alshahrani, MS, Al-Hameed, FM, Arshad, Z et al.. Surveillance or no surveillance ultrasonography for deep vein thrombosis and outcomes of critically ill patients: a pre-planned sub-study of the PREVENT trial. Intensive Care Med. 2020;46 (4):737-746. doi: 10.1007/s00134-019-05899-1. PubMed PMID:32095845 .
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Affiliations & Other Activities

  • Clinician Scientist, Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care Medicine, St Michael’s Hospital
  • Clinician Scientist, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
  • Assistant Professor, Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care Medicine, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Chair, Medical Surgical ICU Knowledge Translation Committee, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Organizing Member, Critical Care Continuing Medical Education Committee, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Member, Organ Donation and Transplantation Committee, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Certification (critical care), University of Western Ontario
  • Member, ACCADEMY (McMaster University)
  • Member, Canadian Critical Care Trials Group
  • Reviewer for several critical care and respirology journals