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. Moss, SJ, Stelfox, HT, Krewulak, KD, Ahmed, S, Anglin, MC, Bagshaw, SM et al.. Impact of restricted visitation policies in hospitals on patients, family members and healthcare providers during the COVID-19 pandemic: a scoping review protocol. BMJ Open. 2021;11 (9):e048227. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-048227. PubMed PMID:34556510 PubMed Central PMC8461363.
  2. Mehta, S, Ahluwalia, N, Heybati, K, Burns, KEA, Owais, S, Cook, DJ et al.. Diversity of Authors of Publications From the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group. Crit Care Med. 2021; :. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000005284. PubMed PMID:34473658 .
  3. Fernando, SM, Tran, A, Cheng, W, Sadeghirad, B, Arabi, YM, Cook, DJ et al.. Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis in Critically Ill Adults - A Systematic Review and Network Meta-Analysis. Chest. 2021; :. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2021.08.050. PubMed PMID:34419428 .
  4. Chaudhuri, D, Jinah, R, Burns, KEA, Angriman, F, Ferreyro, B, Munshi, L et al.. Helmet non-invasive ventilation compared to facemask non-invasive ventilation and high flow nasal cannula in acute respiratory failure: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur Respir J. 2021; :. doi: 10.1183/13993003.01269-2021. PubMed PMID:34413155 .
  5. Sarti, AJ, Zheng, K, Herry, CL, Sutherland, S, Scales, NB, Watpool, I et al.. Feasibility of implementing Extubation Advisor, a clinical decision support tool to improve extubation decision-making in the ICU: a mixed-methods observational study. BMJ Open. 2021;11 (8):e045674. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-045674. PubMed PMID:34385234 PubMed Central PMC8362728.
  6. Pelosi, P, Ball, L, Barbas, CSV, Bellomo, R, Burns, KEA, Einav, S et al.. Personalized mechanical ventilation in acute respiratory distress syndrome. Crit Care. 2021;25 (1):250. doi: 10.1186/s13054-021-03686-3. PubMed PMID:34271958 PubMed Central PMC8284184.
  7. Fiest, KM, Krewulak, KD, Hiploylee, C, Bagshaw, SM, Burns, KEA, Cook, DJ et al.. An environmental scan of visitation policies in Canadian intensive care units during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Can J Anaesth. 2021;68 (10):1474-1484. doi: 10.1007/s12630-021-02049-4. PubMed PMID:34195922 PubMed Central PMC8244673.
  8. Trivedi, V, Chaudhuri, D, Jinah, R, Piticaru, J, Agarwal, A, Liu, K et al.. The Usefulness of the Rapid Shallow Breathing Index in Predicting Successful Extubation: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Chest. 2021; :. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2021.06.030. PubMed PMID:34181953 .
  9. Beaubien-Souligny, W, Yang, Y, Burns, KEA, Friedrich, JO, Meraz-Muñoz, A, Clark, EG et al.. Intra-dialytic hypotension following the transition from continuous to intermittent renal replacement therapy. Ann Intensive Care. 2021;11 (1):96. doi: 10.1186/s13613-021-00885-7. PubMed PMID:34146164 PubMed Central PMC8214642.
  10. Burns, KEA, Pattani, R, Lorens, E, Straus, SE, Hawker, GA. The impact of organizational culture on professional fulfillment and burnout in an academic department of medicine. PLoS One. 2021;16 (6):e0252778. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0252778. PubMed PMID:34106959 PubMed Central PMC8189486.
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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