A computational model is presented for unsteady flow through a collapsible tube with variable wall stiffness. The one-dimensional flow equations are solved for inlet, outlet and external conditions that vary with time and for a tube with time-dependent, spatially-distributed local properties. In particular, the effects of nonuniformities and local perturbations in stiffness distribution in the tube are studied. By allowing the flow to evolve in time, asymptotically steady flows are calculated. When simulating a quasi-steady reduction in downstream pressure, the model demonstrates critical transitions, the phenomena of wave-speed limitation and the sites of flow limitation. It also exhibits conditions for which viscous flow limitation occurs. Computations of rapid, unsteady changes of the exit pressure illustrate the phenomena occurring at the onset of a cough, and the generation and propagation of elastic jumps.

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