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University College London

Airway Matters

University College London via FutureLearn


Develop safe airway management strategies for your patients

The safe management of a patient’s airway is one of the most challenging and complex tasks undertaken by a health professional in both hospital and pre-hospital settings - complications can result in devastating outcomes.

On this six-week course, you’ll learn how to improve safety, prevent complications and be prepared to manage difficulties in airway management. You’ll also discover techniques that can be applied to a number of hospital and pre-hospital settings.

Understand airway assessment and safety

You’ll start this course by discussing the meaning of safe airway management. Then, you’ll explore how to assess an airway and what kind of equipment to use in elective and emergency airway management.

In difficult or stressful situations, guidelines and cognitive aids can help with decision-making and human factors, so you’ll also take a look at some key examples.

You’ll also discuss the importance of involving patients in decision-making and how to develop safe strategies for more complex cases.

Explore airway management in specific scenarios

Airway management differs between children and adults, while factors such as pregnancy, obesity, or having a tracheostomy demand we adapt our techniques.

You will explore how airway management follows different practices around the globe, from high resource to low resource settings.

Discover the challenges and standards of pre-hospital airway management

In the pre-hospital setting, airway management presents its own challenges. You’ll be guided through governance, safety, and demonstrations of pre-hospital airway management techniques by the Air Ambulance Charity Kent Surrey Sussex.

You’ll cover topics ranging from pre-hospital anaesthesia and Rapid Sequence Induction to pre-oxygenation techniques and intra-arrest airway management.

This course, endorsed by the Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Difficult Airway Society, is for all members of the multidisciplinary team who provide airway support to patients or care for patients with a compromised airway. This includes anaesthetists, anaesthesia associates, operating department practitioners, prehospital and emergency medicine physicians, paramedics, nurses, physiotherapists, adult and paediatric intensivists, head and neck surgeons and members of the cardiac arrest team.

Health professionals might find the Certificate of Achievement for this course useful for providing evidence of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) or commitment to their career.


  • Safety, Human Factors and Ergonomics, Airway Anatomy
    • Welcome to the Course and to Week 1
    • Airway Safety
    • Human Factors and Ergonomics in Airway Management
    • Capnography
    • Airway Anatomy
    • What Have You Learned in Week 1
  • Planning, Equipment and Airway Rescue
    • Welcome to Week 2
    • Airway Assessment and Planning
    • Airway Equipment, an Overview
    • Guidelines, Algorithms and Cognitive Tools
    • Can't Intubate, Can't Oxygenate
    • Summary of Week 2
  • Airway Obstruction and Special Techniques
    • Welcome to Week 3
    • Rapid Sequence Induction
    • Safe Extubation
    • The Obstructed Airway
    • Special Techniques
    • Summary of week 3
  • The Shared Airway, Tracheostomies, the Critically Ill Patient including patients with COVID-19.
    • Welcome to week 4
    • Sharing the Airway
    • Altered Airways, Tracheostomies and Laryngectomies
    • Airway Management of the Critical Ill Adult
    • Airway Management in the Patient with COVID-19
    • Summary of week 4
  • Paediatrics, Obstetrics, Obesity, A Global Perspective
    • Welcome to week 5
    • The Paediatric Airway
    • The Obstetric Airway
    • The Patient with Obesity
    • A Global Perspective
    • Bringing it All Together
    • Summary of Airway Matters
  • Pre-Hospital Airway Matters
    • Welcome to Pre-Hospital Airway Matters
    • Challenges, Standards and Governance
    • Drugs For Pre-Hospital Anaesthesia
    • Patient and Scene Assessment
    • The RSI Kit Dump and Equipment
    • Pre-Hospital Anaesthesia
    • Associated Skills
    • Current Developments
    • Summary of Pre-Hospital Airway Matters
    • Conclusion and Acknowledgements

Taught by

Emilie Martinoni Hoogenboom, Abigail Whiteman, Laura Elgie and Viki Mitchell


5.0 rating, based on 2 Class Central reviews

4.9 rating at FutureLearn based on 477 ratings

Start your review of Airway Matters

  • Anonymous
    Fantastic resources, delivered by experts in the field. Rich and varied high-quality content. Relevant for all professionals involved in airway management
  • Anonymous
    What an excellent and vital resource, taught by experts and with such clarity.

    It should be mandatory training and I advocate department managers review this great resource.

    Well done and thank you.

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