### Summary

- Top of page
- Summary
- Modelling obstructed apnoea
- Using model examples in practice
- Relevance to the ‘can’t intubate can’t ventilate’ situation
- Wider physiological airway modelling
- Conclusions
- Competing interests
- References

Apnoea due to airway obstruction is an ever present concern in anaesthesia and critical care practice and results in rapid development of hypoxaemia that is not always remediable by manual bag-mask ventilation. As it is often difficult or impossible to study experimentally (although some historical animal data exist), it is useful to model the kinetics of hypoxaemia following airway obstruction. Despite being a complex event, the consequences of airway obstruction can be predicted with reasonable fidelity using mathematical and computer modelling. Over the last 15 years, a number of high fidelity mathematical and computer models have been developed, that have thrown light on this important event.