* Please note that it can take up to three months before you receive the Alert Card from DAS. The ongoing pandemic can potentially cause further delays*
This page details information about DAS Airway Alert Card and Difficult Airway Database. This project aims to provide patients with an 'Alert Card' which carries vital information about 'difficult airway' during an anaesthetic. 
Nearly 3 million general anaesthetics are given every year in the UK.  As part of having a general anaesthetic, the anaesthetist needs to place an airway device into your windpipe (trachea) to make sure that oxygen continues to enter your body.  This process is called airway management.  This is a vital step in the process of anaesthesia as a lack of oxygen will result in severe consequences including brain damage and death.
Although the majority of anaesthetic procedures are straightforward, emergencies can occur with airway management which can cause serious harm.  If during your anaesthetic there have been difficulties with managing the airway (Difficult Airway) it is vital that life-saving information is made available for any future anaesthetics. Relevant medical information can be stored on a secure database which will enable anaesthetists or other doctors to review your history before you have any future anaesthetic procedures.
More information about airway management in anaesthesia is available from:
What is the Difficult Airway Alert Card Project and how does it help me?
This project makes sure that vital medical information about any difficulty encountered during your anaesthetic is available 24 hours a day if you need to have another anaesthetic, in any circumstances.  Once you are registered on the DAS Airway Alert Card Project the medical information can be accessed securely by a registered medical practitioner in the UK, using the code provided by you, or via your NHS number.
You will be provided with a free DAS Airway Alert Card which will contain a summary of the vital information about the difficult airway and how it was managed.  More detailed information is held on the secure national DAS Database which has 24hour access.
Please carry the card with you (it is the same size as a credit card) and show it to the anaesthetist when you have another operation or procedure.  The number on the card will allow the anaesthetist to see the details of previous anaesthetics from the DAS database and provide them with important information on how best to provide safe airway management.
What should I do with the DAS Airway Alert Card
Please keep this card safely as it contains some personal information and medical details.  The information will be useful to other medical professionals when you need to have:

  • Further surgery
  • Future medical procedures that involve an anaesthetic or sedation eg, endoscopy, complex dental procedures, injections under sedation
  • Emergency hospital admission for trauma or any respiratory conditions

How will my personal information be used?
We need your personal details so that we can prepare and send you the DAS Airway Alert Card.  The primary use of the information is to make sure that you will have a safe anaesthetic the next time you need an operation or a procedure. Your personal details are kept in a secure system which is run separately from the DAS Database where more detailed medical information is securely stored.
What information is available on the DAS Database?
Medical details about your anaesthetic and the difficulties identified will be entered into the secure DAS Database.  There are no personal  identifying details entered onto this part of the  system.  Your NHS number is stored in this system in an encrypted format.  The DAS Airway Alert Card has a unique access code which links your details to the anonymised data.  Doctors in the UK who are registered with the GMC will be able to access the information they need with your permission.  In exceptional circumstances when you might be unable to give permission due to a medical reason the registered doctor will be permitted to view your important medical details using your NHS number.
Will the data on the DAS Database be used for any other purpose?
We may also wish to use some parts of the medical information for research, however none of the identifiable personal details are ever used for this purpose. In order to conduct any research, the only information used is your age (not your date of birth) and gender at the time of the difficult airway incident. All the data stored on the DAS Database is anonymised.
Research projects are run to help anaesthetists identify what can make an anaesthetic difficult and to help them devise ways to make managing an airway safer.  They might be interested to look at:

  • Details of the difficulty in managing the airway
  • Equipment used to manage the airway
  • Information about any particular physical condition that contributed to the difficult airway
  • The type of surgery planned
  • The types of special investigations carried out to help airway management

You can opt out of providing this information on the consent form by ticking the relevant box. 
Do I have to pay to join the DAS Airway Alert Card Project?
No – DAS sponsors the cost of running the Airway Alert Card Project.  The card is sent to you free of charge.  We do not currently charge for replacement cards, but we reserve the right to change this arrangement in the future.
What happens if I lose my Airway Alert Card?
If you lose your card and report it to the office and we will replace it for you.  To contact the office please go to https://das.uk.com/contact-us . Your old card with the unique access code will become void so you do not need to worry about the details that are on it.
Can I withdraw my consent in the future?
Yes.  You can withdraw from the DAS Airway Alert Card Project at any time by writing to us (Difficult Airway Society, 21 Portland Place, London, W1B 1PY, UK) or by emailing us at [email protected] All your details will be deleted from the database immediately. The Data Protection Officer of DAS  can be reached by [email protected] if you have any further questions about the data management.

I was told I have a 'difficult airway' by my anaesthetist in the past. Can I get an alert card ? 
Unforutnately we are not able to directly issue an Airway Alert Card as this needs a lot of information from your anaesthetic. We require your anaesthetist to submit this information. However only participating hospitals will be able to submit the information. 


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