Difficult Airway Alert

The Difficult Airway Alert is an initiative of the Queensland Health, Statewide Anaesthesia and Perioperative Care Clinical Network (SWAPNet).

The Difficult Airway Alert form has been developed as a concise and effective communication tool to support the registration of a difficult airway event and reduce the risk of future airway morbidity in at risk patients. The form is interactive and can be opened on mobile platforms (i.e. phones, ipads) or printed out and completed manually.

"The term ‘Difficult Airway’ refers to the presence of any clinically significant threat to oxygenation and / or ventilation with difficulty in any of the key domains of airway management i.e. difficult or impossible bag-mask ventilation, supraglottic airway insertion, tracheal intubation or front of neck access."

The Difficult Airway Alert does not take the place of a detailed pre-anaesthetic airway assessment.

Please note: The Difficult Airway Alert form can be downloaded to your desktop or drive and used as an interactive pdf or printed out as a hard copy. It is recommended that copies of the form be made available on difficult airway trolleys.

Completed Difficult Airway Alert forms are uploaded to The Viewer and / or ieMR by designated officers in Queensland Health facilities. The Viewer Difficult Airway upload guide provides instructions on how to upload alert forms to The Viewer. If you experience any difficulty uploading completed forms, please contact the SWAPNet Coordinator on 3328 9164 or SWAPNET@health.qld.gov.au. A copy of the completed Difficult Airway Alert is provided to the patient and GP as required.

Following a nationwide review in 2021, the Difficult Airway Alert was formally endorsed by the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists and Australian Society of Anaesthetists and rolled out across Australia and New Zealand.

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Last updated: 4 March 2024