Medical Resources: Algorithms

Algorithms | e-Learning | Videos| News | Interactive algorithms

The algorithms encompass the knowledge, skills and actions required to manage a tracheostomy emergency. They are designed to deal with the commonest and most easily solved problems first, whilst calling early for appropriate help and equipment and maintaining oxygenation at all times. If the initial actions do not result in an improvement in the patient's condition, increasingly more complex and invasive options are available to the primary and secondary responder. The background to the algorithms along with their development is detailed in McGrath et al Anaesthesia 2012; 67(9): 1025-41 and the full text version is freely available from Wiley. Click Here For Document

There NTSP manual discusses the algorithms and there is a detailed explanation in the e-learning resources. You can also find interactive algorithms on this website and in the SmartPhone Apps which contain links to videos demonstrating each key step.

These documents can be freely downloaded, printed and used from this website. We have included Microsoft PowerPoint versions of the algorithms, which contain the individual steps of the algorithms and templates of the bed-head signs. You may wish to adapt these for local use (eg add relevant emergency contact numbers) or use them in teaching.

All feedback from the clinical use of these algorithms is reviewed by the NTSP. There have been no changes to the algorithms following the review in 2014. The algorithms will be reviewed again in April 2016.

If you wish to include these algorithms in any published work, we have agreed with the AAGBI, Anaesthesia and Wiley that the statement detailed at the bottom of this page should be inserted in order to waive seeking individual permission.

Bed-head signs acompany the algorithms. Essential details about the nature of the airway, tubes and device and emergency contacts can be recorded here.

Bedhead Bedhead

The algorithms and bed-head signs are available as Microsoft PowerPoint slides which you can adapt for local use. Click the image below.


You may wish to use double-sided bed head sign. These have the essential bed head details on the front and the relevant algorithm on the back to ensure that guidance is always available in an emergency.

Double sided Double sided


Reproduction & Permission

If you wish to include these algorithms in any published work, we have agreed with the AAGBI, Anaesthesia and Wiley that the following statement should be inserted in order to waive individual permission:

"The Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain & Ireland grants readers the right to reproduce the algorithms included in this article (Figs 1 and 2) for non-commercial purposes (including in scholarly journals, books and non-commercial websites), without the need to request permission. Each reproduction of any algorithm must be accompanied by the following text: Reproduced from McGrath BA, Bates L, Atkinson D, Moore JA. Multidisciplinary guidelines for the management of tracheostomy and laryngectomy airway emergencies. Anaesthesia. 2012 Jun 26. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2044.2012.07217, with permission from the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain & Ireland/Blackwell Publishing Ltd."

The figs should be numbered accordingly – and only the algorithms reproduced (i.e. no other elements from your manuscript should be reproduced without specific permission).


We have developed 3 e-learning modules in partnership with the NHS
e-learning for healthcare project and the Royal College of Anaesthetists.

Click for eLfH website

Visit e-Learning for more information.

Emergency Algorithms

The project has collaborated with multidisciplinary stakeholders to develop unique guidelines for managing tracheostomy and larynegctomy emergencies.

View NTSP published guidelines paper here in Anaesthesia.

More information in the Algorithms pages.

Videos & Resources

We have developed a library of videos to demonstrate key steps in the routine and emergency management of neck breathing patients.

Click here to view our YouTube library

You can access our printed resources including the NTSP Manual 2013 from the Medical Resources page.