Literature review


How to cite: Teixeira HRX. Rigor Mortis: Physiology. Persp Med Legal Pericias Med. 2021; 6: e210609

Submitted 01/25/2021
Accepted 03/16/2021

The author declares there is no conflict of interests.

Heron Ricardo Xavier Teixeira (1)–

(1) Faculdade da Saúde e Ecologia Humana: Faculdade de Medicina, Vespasiano-MG, Brasil. (main author)



Introduction: Estimating the time of death is an important task in day-to-day forensic work and many factors for its designation are understood, one of which is rigor mortis. They can be altered by extrinsic and intrinsic factors, such as temperature location, humidity, heat, age, sex, length and body weight, and can be used as a parameter for approximate identification of the time of death. Objective: To carry out a brief review on the topic in order to promote a better understanding of the subject addressed and fully understand its physiology. Materials and Methods: Pubmed, Scielo and Medline databases were searched without date restrictions for articles published in English and Portuguese using the descriptors rigor mortis, autolysis and changes after death. Results: The theme presents consolidated researches regarding its natural course, being an important tool to estimate the time of death along other signs that appear after death, as well as to estimate some causes of death. Conclusion: Understanding the development of rigor mortis, helps to identify and distinguish processes that may have led to death and the post-mortem time.

Keywords: Rigor Mortis, Autolysis, Changes Postmortem.

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