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. Filewod, N, Hwang, S, Turner, CJ, Rizvi, L, Gray, S, Klaiman, M et al.. Phenobarbital for the management of severe acute alcohol withdrawal (the PHENOMANAL trial): a pilot randomized controlled trial. Pilot Feasibility Stud. 2022;8 (1):14. doi: 10.1186/s40814-021-00963-4. PubMed PMID:35065662 .
  2. Pattani, R, Burns, KEA, Lorens, E, Straus, SE, Hawker, GA. Effect of race, gender identity, and their intersection on career satisfaction: A cross-sectional survey of academic physicians. Med Teach. 2022; :1-8. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2021.2014799. PubMed PMID:35048748 .
  3. Burns, KEA, Laird, M, Stevenson, J, Honarmand, K, Granton, D, Kho, ME et al.. Adherence of Clinical Practice Guidelines for Pharmacologic Treatments of Hospitalized Patients With COVID-19 to Trustworthy Standards: A Systematic Review. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4 (12):e2136263. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.36263. PubMed PMID:34889948 PubMed Central PMC8665373.
  4. Fernando, SM, Tran, A, Sadeghirad, B, Burns, KEA, Fan, E, Brodie, D et al.. Noninvasive respiratory support following extubation in critically ill adults: a systematic review and network meta-analysis. Intensive Care Med. 2021; :. doi: 10.1007/s00134-021-06581-1. PubMed PMID:34825256 .
  5. Burns, KEA, Stevenson, J, Laird, M, Adhikari, NKJ, Li, Y, Lu, C et al.. Non-invasive ventilation versus invasive weaning in critically ill adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Thorax. 2021; :. doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2021-216993. PubMed PMID:34716282 .
  6. Fiest, KM, Krewulak, KD, Makuk, K, Jaworska, N, Hernández, L, Bagshaw, SM et al.. A Modified Delphi Process to Prioritize Experiences and Guidance Related to ICU Restricted Visitation Policies During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic. Crit Care Explor. 2021;3 (10):e0562. doi: 10.1097/CCE.0000000000000562. PubMed PMID:34712955 PubMed Central PMC8547909.
  7. Cavalot, G, Dounaevskaia, V, Vieira, F, Piraino, T, Coudroy, R, Smith, O et al.. One-Year Readmission Following Undifferentiated Acute Hypercapnic Respiratory Failure. COPD. 2021; :1-10. doi: 10.1080/15412555.2021.1990240. PubMed PMID:34657539 .
  8. Tran, A, Fernando, SM, Brochard, LJ, Fan, E, Inaba, K, Ferguson, ND et al.. Prognostic factors for development of acute respiratory distress syndrome following traumatic injury - a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur Respir J. 2021; :. doi: 10.1183/13993003.00857-2021. PubMed PMID:34625477 .
  9. Moss, SJ, Krewulak, KD, Stelfox, HT, Ahmed, SB, Anglin, MC, Bagshaw, SM et al.. Restricted visitation policies in acute care settings during the COVID-19 pandemic: a scoping review. Crit Care. 2021;25 (1):347. doi: 10.1186/s13054-021-03763-7. PubMed PMID:34563234 PubMed Central PMC8465762.
  10. 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.
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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