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Third Spacing

From Openwaterpedia
Grant Hackett with third spacing after a 10 km marathon swim

noun - Third spacing is a phenomenon in human physiology, extracellular fluids are distributed between the interstitial compartment (i.e. tissue) and intravascular compartment (i.e. plasma) in an approximately 75%-25% ratio. Third spacing is the physiological concept that body fluids may collect in a "third" body compartment that isn't normally perfused with fluids.

For example, an open water swimmer’s body to appear waterlogged or swollen after a long swim when fluid is trapped in the interstitial spaces in the brain, lungs, abdomen and extremities. Third spacing can be caused by a loss of electrolytes. In turn, this results in extracellular fluids going out of the blood vessels and into the skin tissue that normally is not perfused with fluids.


The marathon swimmer looked soft and pudgy when he exited the water after his crossing of the English Channel.

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