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. Reid, JC, Molloy, A, Strong, G, Kelly, L, O'Grady, H, Cook, D et al.. Research interrupted: applying the CONSERVE 2021 Statement to a randomized trial of rehabilitation during critical illness affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Trials. 2022;23 (1):735. doi: 10.1186/s13063-022-06640-y. PubMed PMID:36056378 PubMed Central PMC9438218.
  2. Fiest, KM, Krewulak, KD, Jaworska, N, Spence, KL, Mizen, SJ, Bagshaw, SM et al.. Impact of restricted visitation policies during COVID-19 on critically ill adults, their families, critical care clinicians, and decision-makers: a qualitative interview study. Can J Anaesth. 2022;69 (10):1248-1259. doi: 10.1007/s12630-022-02301-5. PubMed PMID:35978160 PubMed Central PMC9385091.
  3. Burns, KEA, Agarwal, A, Bosma, KJ, Chaudhuri, D, Girard, TD. Liberation from Mechanical Ventilation: Established and New Insights. Semin Respir Crit Care Med. 2022;43 (3):461-470. doi: 10.1055/s-0042-1747929. PubMed PMID:35760299 .
  4. Brault, C, Mancebo, J, Suarez Montero, JC, Bentall, T, Burns, KEA, Piraino, T et al.. The PROMIZING trial enrollment algorithm for early identification of patients ready for unassisted breathing. Crit Care. 2022;26 (1):188. doi: 10.1186/s13054-022-04063-4. PubMed PMID:35739553 PubMed Central PMC9219177.
  5. Trivedi, V, Chaudhuri, D, Burns, KEA. Response. Chest. 2022;161 (6):e394. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2022.02.020. PubMed PMID:35680325 .
  6. Al-Dorzi, HM, Al-Dawood, A, Al-Hameed, FM, Burns, KEA, Mehta, S, Jose, J et al.. The effect of intermittent pneumatic compression on deep-vein thrombosis and ventilation-free days in critically ill patients with heart failure. Sci Rep. 2022;12 (1):8519. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-12336-9. PubMed PMID:35595804 PubMed Central PMC9122920.
  7. Tsang, JLY, Fowler, R, Cook, DJ, Burns, KEA, Hunter, K, Forcina, V et al.. Motivating factors, barriers and facilitators of participation in COVID-19 clinical research: A cross-sectional survey of Canadian community intensive care units. PLoS One. 2022;17 (4):e0266770. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0266770. PubMed PMID:35476678 PubMed Central PMC9045667.
  8. Leigh, JP, Brundin-Mather, R, Soo, A, FitzGerald, E, Mizen, S, Dodds, A et al.. Public perceptions during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada: a demographic analysis of self-reported beliefs, behaviors, and information acquisition. BMC Public Health. 2022;22 (1):699. doi: 10.1186/s12889-022-13058-3. PubMed PMID:35397530 PubMed Central PMC8994420.
  9. Fiest, KM, Krewulak, KD, Hernández, LC, Jaworska, N, Makuk, K, Schalm, E et al.. Evidence-informed consensus statements to guide COVID-19 patient visitation policies: results from a national stakeholder meeting. Can J Anaesth. 2022;69 (7):868-879. doi: 10.1007/s12630-022-02235-y. PubMed PMID:35359262 PubMed Central PMC8970637.
  10. 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 PubMed Central PMC8783453.
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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