Edema and Third space fluid shift


I hope someone can help with this. We are currently doing fluids and electrolytes and acid base balance. The question on our study guide is ____ is the accumulation of fluid in spaces that usually has no or little fluid. Me and another class mate are having a disagreement of the answer. Can someone please explain the difference between the two terms. Thanks in advance.

flightnurse2b, LPN

2 Articles; 1,496 Posts

Specializes in EMS, ER, GI, PCU/Telemetry.

edema is fluid accumulation underneath the skin and in body tissues and/or in body cavities due to many different pathophysiologies.

third spacing is a shift of fluid into the interstitial spaces--where there is little fluid normally perfusing. this patient differs from the pt with generalized edema because the "third" spacing is just that... all the fluid has shifted from the other compartments and although they look all puffy and full of fluid, they are actually hypovolemic.

hope that helps a little.

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