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. Rizvi, L, Griffin, K, Zytaruk, N, Cook, DJ, Sykes, J, Burns, KEA et al.. International variation in ethics and contract approval processes for a low-risk observational study of mechanical ventilation discontinuation practices. J Clin Epidemiol. 2023;164 :27-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2023.10.006. PubMed PMID:37858776 .
  2. Busico, M, Fuentes, NA, Gallardo, A, Vitali, A, Quintana, J, Olmos, M et al.. The Predictive Validity of the Berlin Definition of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome for Patients With COVID-19-Related Respiratory Failure Treated With High-Flow Nasal Oxygen: A Multicenter, Prospective Cohort Study. Crit Care Med. 2023; :. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000006056. PubMed PMID:37846935 .
  3. Nascimento, LG, Dubé, È, Burns, KE, Brown, P, Calnan, M, Ward, PR et al.. Informing efforts beyond tailored promotional campaigns by understanding contextual factors shaping vaccine hesitancy among equity-deserving populations in Canada: an exploratory qualitative study. Int J Equity Health. 2023;22 (1):209. doi: 10.1186/s12939-023-02025-y. PubMed PMID:37805472 PubMed Central PMC10559625.
  4. Ike, N, Burns, KE, Nascimento, H, Filice, E, Ward, PR, Herati, H et al.. Examining factors impacting acceptance of COVID-19 countermeasures among structurally marginalised Canadians. Glob Public Health. 2023;18 (1):2263525. doi: 10.1080/17441692.2023.2263525. PubMed PMID:37801704 .
  5. Burns, KEA, Lafrienier-Roula, M, Hill, NS, Cook, DJ, Seely, AJE, Rochwerg, B et al.. Frequency of screening and SBT Technique Trial-North American Weaning Collaboration (FAST-NAWC): an update to the protocol and statistical analysis plan. Trials. 2023;24 (1):626. doi: 10.1186/s13063-023-07079-5. PubMed PMID:37784109 PubMed Central PMC10544476.
  6. Burns, KEA, Cook, DJ, Xu, K, Dodek, P, Villar, J, Jones, A et al.. Differences in directives to limit treatment and discontinue mechanical ventilation between elderly and very elderly patients: a substudy of a multinational observational study. Intensive Care Med. 2023;49 (10):1181-1190. doi: 10.1007/s00134-023-07188-4. PubMed PMID:37736783 .
  7. D'Aragon, F, Rousseau, W, Breau, R, Aminaei, D, Ichai, C, Boyd, GJ et al.. Calcineurin Inhibition in Deceased Organ Donors: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Preclinical Studies. Transplant Direct. 2023;9 (9):e1519. doi: 10.1097/TXD.0000000000001519. PubMed PMID:37649790 PubMed Central PMC10465100.
  8. Kho, ME, Reid, J, Molloy, AJ, Herridge, MS, Seely, AJ, Rudkowski, JC et al.. Critical Care Cycling to Improve Lower Extremity Strength (CYCLE): protocol for an international, multicentre randomised clinical trial of early in-bed cycling for mechanically ventilated patients. BMJ Open. 2023;13 (6):e075685. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2023-075685. PubMed PMID:37355270 PubMed Central PMC10314658.
  9. Phoophiboon, V, Brown, P, Burns, KEA. Systemic lupus erythematosus associated with development of macrophage activation syndrome and disseminated aspergillosis. Can J Anaesth. 2023;70 (7):1255-1260. doi: 10.1007/s12630-023-02506-2. PubMed PMID:37349668 .
  10. Grasselli, G, Calfee, CS, Camporota, L, Poole, D, Amato, MBP, Antonelli, M et al.. ESICM guidelines on acute respiratory distress syndrome: definition, phenotyping and respiratory support strategies. Intensive Care Med. 2023;49 (7):727-759. doi: 10.1007/s00134-023-07050-7. PubMed PMID:37326646 PubMed Central PMC10354163.
Search PubMed

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