ASA Difficult Airway Algorithm

The figure below summarises an algorithm developed by the American Society of Anesthesiologists for managing patients with a potentially difficult airway. The algorith emphasizes the importance of anticipating potential difficulties (e.g., difficult intubation, difficult ventilation, difficulty with patient cooperation, difficult tracheostomy ) as well as the relative merits and feasability of various basic airway management choices.

(Source: American Society of Anesthesiologists Task Force on Management of the Difficult Airway. Practice guidelines for management of the difficult airway: an updated report by the American Society of Anesthesiologists Task Force on Management of the Difficult Airway. Anesthesiology. 98(5):1269-77, May 2003)  Available free online at www.anesthesiology.org [CLICK HERE]

Further Reading

Hung O, Law JA.  Advances in airway management. Can J Anaesth. 2006 Jun;53(6):628-31. http://www.cja-jca.org/cgi/reprint/53/6/628

Rosenblatt WH, Whipple J. The difficult airway algorithm of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. Anesth Analg. 2003 Apr;96(4):1233. http://www.anesthesia-analgesia.org/cgi/content/full/96/4/1233