We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Potential Space?

By Clara Kedrek
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

In anatomy, a potential space is a structure that normally is either empty or contains a small amount of substance, but can expand to much larger sizes as a result of different processes. The lungs and the heart are both surrounded by potential spaces, called the pleural space and pericardial space respectively. The brain has spaces that can be filled with fluid, including the epidural and subdural spaces. Some people also consider the vagina to be a potential space.

Normally small in size, a poential space can expand as a result of different conditions. This concept is best illustrated with an example. The lungs are covered by a thin membrane called the visceral pleura. This membrane contacts the parietal pleura, which is a membrane that lines the inner part of the rib cage. The space, called the pleural cavity, located between the visceral and parietal pleura, is normally only filled with a few milliliters of fluid; however, in pathologic conditions hundreds or thousands of milliliters of fluid can collect in this space.

Similar to how the lung is surrounded by the pleural cavity, the heart is surrounded by the pericardial cavity that is bounded by the epicardial surface lining the outside of the heart and the stiff pericardial sac that surrounds the heart. Normally this space contains a small amount of fluid that serves as a lubricant. With different diseases, fluid can accumulate in this space. If enough fluid collects, the ability of the heart to pump blood is compromised. This condition is called cardiac tamponade, and can be life-threatening without a surgical procedure to relieve the buildup of pressure in the pericardial space.

A number of different regions of the brain have potential spaces. The brain is lined by three different membranes, the outermost being a rigid dural layer, the middle a thin arachnoid layer, and an inner pial layer that adheres to the surface of the brain. Blood can accumulate in the space between the dural and arachnoid layers, in the subdural space. This occurs when the veins normally present in this space burst, a condition most often present as a result of trauma. The epidural space, the area between the skull and dura, can also accumulate blood if the artery located in this region ruptures.

Some people consider the vagina to be another type of potential space in the body. Unlike the other potential spaces discussed so far, this space is not defined by membranes. It is a cavity lined by a mucus membrane that opens to the external surface of the body. Normally the mucus membranes of the vagina contact each other, but this potential space can expand during sexual intercourse or childbirth.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.