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. Vincent, JL, Juffermans, NP, Burns, KEA, Ranieri, VM, Pourzitaki, C, Rubulotta, F et al.. Addressing gender imbalance in intensive care. Crit Care. 2021;25 (1):147. doi: 10.1186/s13054-021-03569-7. PubMed PMID:33863353 PubMed Central PMC8051087.
  2. Armstrong, VM, Burns, KEA. Does a Speaker Gender Gap Exist in Symposia Presentations within the Critical Care Assembly at the ATS Conference?. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2021; :. doi: 10.1513/AnnalsATS.202012-1478RL. PubMed PMID:33848445 .
  3. Burns, KEA, Rizvi, L, Cook, DJ, Lebovic, G, Dodek, P, Villar, J et al.. Ventilator Weaning and Discontinuation Practices for Critically Ill Patients. JAMA. 2021;325 (12):1173-1184. doi: 10.1001/jama.2021.2384. PubMed PMID:33755077 PubMed Central PMC7988370.
  4. Agarwal, A, Fernando, SM, Honarmand, K, Bakaa, L, Brar, S, Granton, D et al.. Risk of dispersion or aerosol generation and infection transmission with nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs for detection of COVID-19: a systematic review. BMJ Open. 2021;11 (3):e040616. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-040616. PubMed PMID:33737418 PubMed Central PMC7977073.
  5. Wang, DX, Wang, MK, Rochwerg, B, Burns, KEA. Predictive performance of SOFA & qSOFA for in-hospital mortality in patients with severe novel coronavirus disease: Correspondence. Am J Emerg Med. 2021; :. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2021.03.009. PubMed PMID:33722433 PubMed Central PMC7939992.
  6. 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 .
  7. 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. 2021;62 :76-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2020.11.003. PubMed PMID:33290929 .
  8. 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 .
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
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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