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. 


Around 2.9 million general anaesthetics are conducted annually in the UK. When patients are anaesthetised (put to sleep) for an operation the anaesthetist inserts a tube or mask (airway device) into their breathing passage to ensure adequate Oxygen supply. This process called as 'Airway Management'. Anaesthetists undergo rigorous training in airway management and therefore a vast majority of these are done safely. However life threatening emergencies can occur during an anaesthetic while managing a patient's airway (so called difficult airway) and this can result in serious harm including death. Often this is an unanticipated situation. 

If any difficulty was encountered when managing your airway during an anaesthetic it is vital that this life saving information is made available during your next operation. This information will help your anaesthetist to conduct your next anaesthetic safely. This project aim to make this information readily available if you were to have another operation or emergency procedure. We have detailed below information about this project in a question and answer format.

What is this project about ?

The idea behind this project is to ensure that critical information about any difficulty encountered in securing your airway during your anaesthetic is readily available to your anaesthetist (anywhere in the UK) if you were to have another operation.

What do I get from this ?

This project will provide you with a card - ‘DAS Airway Alert Card’ which will contain vital information about the difficulty in securing your airway during your anaesthetic and how it was managed. Because of limitations of space we can put only limited information on the card. Therefore we will be creating a national database where we can hold detailed information about this event so that it will be available 24/7 to help plan your future anaesthetic.

What are the benefits of getting the Airway Alert Card ?

You can carry this card, which will be a plastic card (same size as a credit card) and show it your anaesthetist when you go for your next operation. This will instantly alert your anaesthetist about your previous anaesthetic and therefore help manage your next one safely.


DAS airway alert card - front view DAS airway alert card - back


What should I do with this card?

Please retain this card safely as this card contains your personal information and medical details. You can take it with you when you visit a hospital. This information will be useful to not only an anaesthetist but also other medical professionals. Some examples where this will be useful are

  • When you have a surgery

  • Any other medical procedure that involves an anaesthetic or sedation e.g. endoscopy, dental procedures, other invasive procedures like examination under anaesthetic, injections under sedation

  • Any emergency admission to a hospital

  • Trauma, accidents requiring hospital treatment etc.,

How will my information be used?

Your personal details will be used to print and send you the alert card. The main use of the information about your anaesthetic is to provide a safe anaesthetic for your next operation or procedure. This information may also be used for research purposes in the future. However none of your personal details will be used for research.

Will the data be used for any other purpose?

The clinical information held in the database can be potentially used for future research as it can shed light on what made the anaesthetic difficult. This will help us (anaesthetists) to develop techniques to manage patient’s airway more effectively and in a safe manner.

For research purposes only a completely anonymous version of the database will be used. None of your personal information except your age at the time of incident and your sex will be used.

What information will be available on the internet? Who can access it?

Medical details about your anaesthetic and the difficulties encountered will be entered into this database. There won’t be any personal details available online. Your NHS number will be stored in this database in an encrypted format. The card will have a unique access code which will be used to link your details to this anonymised database. Only doctors from the United Kingdom who are registered with General Medical Council (GMC) will be able to access your details. They will also need your permission (when you hand over this card) to access your record. In exceptional circumstance e.g. when you have lost the card or unable to give permission due to medical reasons the registered doctors will be allowed to view your details using your NHS number.

Please be assured that we will take all steps possible to hold your details safely and securely.

Will my personal details be available online?

None of your personal details will be stored online. Your personal information will retained securely in an offline database in our office. This is needed to print and post you the DAS Airway Alert Card. We store it to enable us to keep track of the database and re-issue the card incase it is accidentally lost.

Do I have to pay for the service?

NO - DAS sponsors the cost of running these services.

What happens if I lose the card?

If you accidentally lose your DAS Airway Alert Card you can report it to our office. We will issue you a new card. Your old card and the access code printed on it will become void so that it will be useless should it fall into wrong hands. Please use our contact form to report lost DAS Airway Alert Card.

I was told I have a 'difficult airway' by my anaesthetist. How do I get this card ?  /

I have a difficult airway incident many years ago. Can you issue me a 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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