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. Villar, J, González-Martin, JM, Añón, JM, Ferrando, C, Soler, JA, Mosteiro, F et al.. Clinical relevance of timing of assessment of ICU mortality in patients with moderate-to-severe Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Sci Rep. 2023;13 (1):1543. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-28824-5. PubMed PMID:36707634 PubMed Central PMC9883467.
  2. Friedrich, JO, Harhay, MO, Angus, DC, Burns, KEA, Cook, DJ, Fergusson, DA et al.. Mortality As a Measure of Treatment Effect in Clinical Trials Recruiting Critically Ill Patients. Crit Care Med. 2023;51 (2):222-230. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000005721. PubMed PMID:36661450 .
  3. Piquette, D, Burns, KEA, Carnevale, F, Sarti, AJ, Hamilton, M, Dodek, PM et al.. Moral Distress in Canadian Intensivists: A Complex Interplay of Contextual and Relational Factors. Chest. 2022; :. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2022.12.022. PubMed PMID:36574927 .
  4. Goldfarb, M, Debigaré, S, Foster, N, Soboleva, N, Desrochers, F, Craigie, L et al.. Development of a Family Engagement Measure for the Intensive Care Unit. CJC Open. 2022;4 (11):1006-1011. doi: 10.1016/j.cjco.2022.07.015. PubMed PMID:36444373 PubMed Central PMC9700211.
  5. Raffoul, A PhD, Andrade, L MHSc, RD, Acton, RB PhD, Lee, KM PhD, Burns, KE PhD, Godin, KM PhD et al.. Acceptability of an Online Module Addressing Weight Bias: Perspectives and Attitudes of Undergraduate Health Students and Instructors. Can J Diet Pract Res. 2022; :1-6. doi: 10.3148/cjdpr-2022-028. PubMed PMID:36413414 .
  6. Burns, KEA, McDonald, E, Debigaré, S, Zamir, N, Vasquez, M, Piche-Ayotte, M et al.. Patient and family engagement in patient care and research in Canadian intensive care units: a national survey. Can J Anaesth. 2022;69 (12):1527-1536. doi: 10.1007/s12630-022-02342-w. PubMed PMID:36344874 PubMed Central PMC9640777.
  7. Giammarioli, B, Burns, KEA, Patel, BK, Sklar, MC. Providing respiratory and ventilation care in the face of shifting evidence: current opinion in critical care. Curr Opin Crit Care. 2022;28 (6):660-666. doi: 10.1097/MCC.0000000000000997. PubMed PMID:36302195 .
  8. Burns, KEA, Moss, M, Lorens, E, Jose, EKA, Martin, CM, Viglianti, EM et al.. Wellness and Coping of Physicians Who Worked in ICUs During the Pandemic: A Multicenter Cross-Sectional North American Survey. Crit Care Med. 2022;50 (12):1689-1700. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000005674. PubMed PMID:36300945 PubMed Central PMC9668381.
  9. Turgeon, AF, Fergusson, DA, Clayton, L, Patton, MP, Zarychanski, R, English, S et al.. Haemoglobin transfusion threshold in traumatic brain injury optimisation (HEMOTION): a multicentre, randomised, clinical trial protocol. BMJ Open. 2022;12 (10):e067117. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2022-067117. PubMed PMID:36216432 PubMed Central PMC9557781.
  10. Train, SE, Burns, KEA, Erstad, BL, Massaro, A, Wu, TT, Vassaur, J et al.. Physicians' attitudes and perceptions of neuromuscular blocker infusions in ARDS. J Crit Care. 2022;72 :154165. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2022.154165. PubMed PMID:36209698 .
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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