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The Critical Language Compendium

language designed to elevate your airway practice
About this project

Language and communication are critical and often overlooked components of successful airway management. Critical language provides clarity of thought, reduces cognitive load, and enhances teamwork through a shared mental model. Using language concisely and efficiently to drive effective action and teamwork is an important part of airway training.

So we’re excited to announce another collaborative PAC project. The “Critical Language Compendium” to help define and disseminate this important airway language. The Critical Language Compendium is a crowd-sourced project designed to identify key terms in airway management and disseminate this important language.

We want this project to grow and for you to be a part of it. If you have a term you think we should add, please submit it here, and we will review it and get back to you. All submissions will be given credit on the website for the submission. Once accepted, anytime that term is used on the website, it will have a hyperlink to allow learners to access your submission and learn from it. 

The compendium will be integrated into this website so that anytime someone clicks on a highlighted term within a learning space, they will get a clear definition, a short discussion, or insight into the critical language defined and relevant content to understand better how it is used in clinical care.

For those interested in airway language who would like to make a submission or suggestion for additions to the compendium, please use the submission link below.

Examples of Compendium Submissions

Best EffortFailed AirwaySafe Apnea Time

For a complete list of terms, please visit the Critical Language Compendium Webpage.


“The term ‘critical language’ refers to standardized communication in which specific terms or phrases have a clear, mutually agreed meaning. It is employed in healthcare and other high reliability industries to avoid ambiguity, flatten hierarchies and improve team situation awareness. Ideally it should not only improve clarity of communication but also trigger cognitive links to key priorities and actions required.”

Critical Airways, Critical Language – N. Chrimes and T. M. Cook

Department of Anaesthesia, Monash Medical Centre, 246 Clayton Rd, Clayton, VIC 3168, Australia, and 2Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, Royal United Hospital, Combe Park, Bath BA12 3NG, UK

the Role of Critical Language in Airway management