About Sickkids
About SickKids

Brian Kavanagh, MB, BSc, MRCP(I), FRCP(C), FFARCS(I) Hons

The Hospital for Sick Children
Staff Physician
Critical Care Medicine

Research Institute
Senior Scientist
Physiology & Experimental Medicine

University of Toronto
Department of Anesthesia

Chair Positions

Dr. Geoffrey Barker Chair in Critical Care Medicine

Phone: 416-813-6860
Fax: 416-813-5313
e-mail: brian.kavanagh@sickkids.ca
Alternate Contact: Kathy Boyko
Alternate Phone: 416-813-6860
Alternate Fax: 416-813-5313
Alternate e-mail: kathy.boyko@sickkids.ca

For more information, visit:

Department of Anesthesia, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto

Brief Biography

Dr. Kavanagh graduated from University College Dublin (Ireland) in 1985. Following residency in internal medicine in Dublin and in anesthesia (residence and fellowship) in Toronto, he trained in critical care medicine in Stanford. He returned to the Toronto General Hospital in 1994 and in 1999 moved to The Hospital for Sick Children where he is a clinician-scientist and holds the Dr. Geoffrey Barker Chair in Critical Care Medicine.

He is a professor of anesthesia, medicine and physiology, and in 2006 was appointed as chair of the Department of Anesthesia at the University of Toronto. His laboratory investigates molecular and physiological mechanisms of ventilator-induced lung injury and the mechanisms of action of CO2 on the lung, and is supported by two operating grants and a career award from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), and a program award from the Ontario Government.

Dr. Kavanagh regularly presents at international meetings and chairs the Organizing Committee for the Critical Care Canada Forum. He is on the editorial advisory boards of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine and Intensive Care Medicine, and is an associate editor of Anesthesiology.

Research Interests

  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Lung injury
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Critical care medicine

Research Activities

My laboratory has been investigating the effects and mechanisms of lung damage associated with mechanical ventilation.

We have found that adverse ventilatory strategy may permit the release of bacterial products from the lungs into the blood stream, and that increased levels of carbon dioxide may be protective against lung damage and systemic organ injury.

These findings are potentially applicable to critically ill patients on life support devices in Intensive Care Units.


Kornecki A, Engelberts D, McNamara P, Jankov RP, McCaul C, Ackerley C, Post M, Kavanagh BP. Vascular remodeling alters ventilator-induced lung injury. Anesthesiology 108: 1047-1054, 2008

Grasso F, Engelberts D, Helm E, Frndova H, Jarvis S, McKerlie C, Babyn P, Post M, Kavanagh BP. Negative pressure ventilation – better oxygenation and less lung injury. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 177: 412-418, 2008

Tsuchida S, Engelberts D, Peltekova V, McKerlie C, Post M, McLoughlin P, Kavanagh BP. Atelectasis redistributes ventilator-induced lung injury. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 174: 279-289, 2006

Duggan M, McNamara P, Engelberts D, Pace-Asciak C, Post M, Kavanagh BP. Oxygen attenuates atelectasis-induced injury in the in vivo rat lung. Anesthesiology 103:522-531, 2005

Kavanagh BP. Prone positioning in children with ARDS - positive reflections on a negative clinical trial (editorial). Journal of the American Medical Association 294:248-250, 2005

Kornecki A, Tsuchida S, Kumar Ondiveeran H, Engelberts D, Frndova H, Tanswell AK, Post M, McKerlie C, Belik J, Fox-Robichaud A, Kavanagh BP. Lung development and susceptibility to ventilator-associated lung injury. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 171:743-752, 2005

Duggan M, Kavanagh BP. Atelectasis: a pathogenic perioperative entity (review). Anesthesiology 102:838-854, 2005

Kavanagh BP. Therapeutic hypercapnia - careful science, better trials (editorial). American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 171:96-97, 2005

Parshuram C, Kavanagh BP. Positive clinical trials: understand the control group before implementing the result (critical care perspective). American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 170:223-226, 2004

Copland BI, Martinez F, Kavanagh BP, Engelberts D, McKerlie C, Belik J, Post M. High VT ventilation causes different inflammatory responses in newborn versus adult lungs. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 169: 739-748, 2004