Karen Burns




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 Scientists at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, and an Associate Member of the Department of Clinical Epidemiology (McMaster University).

Dr. Burns’ research program focuses on evaluation 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 the use of artificial intelligence in weaning, helmet NIV, 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, PSI – mid career research award, and two University of Toronto Merritt Committee Awards.

Dr. Burns is an Executive Member of the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group, a Treasurer of the Canadian Critical Care Society, and the current Chair of the Women in Critical Care Interest Group for the American Thoracic Society.

Recent Publications

  1. Dodek, PM, Cheung, EO, Burns, KE, Martin, CM, Archambault, PM, Lauzier, F et al.. Moral Distress and Other Wellness Measures in Canadian Critical Care Physicians. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2020; :. doi: 10.1513/AnnalsATS.202009-1118OC. PubMed PMID:33356972 .
  2. Harvey, AK, Burns, KEA, McArthur, E, Adhikari, NKJ, Li, D, Kitchlu, A et al.. Short-and long-term outcomes of sustained low efficiency dialysis vs continuous renal replacement therapy in critically ill patients with acute kidney injury. J Crit Care. 2020;62 :76-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2020.11.003. PubMed PMID:33290929 .
  3. Leung, CHC, Lee, A, Arabi, YM, Phua, J, Divatia, JV, Koh, Y et al.. Mechanical Ventilation Discontinuation Practices in Asia: A Multinational Survey. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2020; :. doi: 10.1513/AnnalsATS.202008-968OC. PubMed PMID:33284738 .
  4. Rochwerg, B, Einav, S, Chaudhuri, D, Mancebo, J, Mauri, T, Helviz, Y et al.. The role for high flow nasal cannula as a respiratory support strategy in adults: a clinical practice guideline. Intensive Care Med. 2020;46 (12):2226-2237. doi: 10.1007/s00134-020-06312-y. PubMed PMID:33201321 PubMed Central PMC7670292.
  5. Alhazzani, W, Belley-Cote, E, Møller, MH, Angus, DC, Papazian, L, Arabi, YM et al.. Neuromuscular blockade in patients with ARDS: a rapid practice guideline. Intensive Care Med. 2020;46 (11):1977-1986. doi: 10.1007/s00134-020-06227-8. PubMed PMID:33104824 PubMed Central PMC7585991.
  6. Parsons Leigh, J, Fiest, K, Brundin-Mather, R, Plotnikoff, K, Soo, A, Sypes, EE et al.. A national cross-sectional survey of public perceptions of the COVID-19 pandemic: Self-reported beliefs, knowledge, and behaviors. PLoS One. 2020;15 (10):e0241259. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0241259. PubMed PMID:33095836 PubMed Central PMC7584165.
  7. Fernando, SM, Fan, E, Rochwerg, B, Burns, KEA, Brochard, LJ, Cook, DJ et al.. Lung-Protective Ventilation and Associated Outcomes and Costs Among Patients Receiving Invasive Mechanical Ventilation in the ED. Chest. 2021;159 (2):606-618. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2020.09.100. PubMed PMID:32966812 .
  8. Granton, D, Chaudhuri, D, Wang, D, Einav, S, Helviz, Y, Mauri, T et al.. High-Flow Nasal Cannula Compared With Conventional Oxygen Therapy or Noninvasive Ventilation Immediately Postextubation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Crit Care Med. 2020;48 (11):e1129-e1136. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000004576. PubMed PMID:32947472 .
  9. 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;18 (10):2181-2193. doi: 10.11124/JBIES-20-00078. PubMed PMID:32925395 .
  10. 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. ;27 (1):43-51. doi: 10.1016/j.pulmoe.2020.07.002. PubMed PMID:32723618 .
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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