rigor mortis(redirected from postmortem rigidity)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.
rigor mortis(rĭ`gər môr`tĭs), rigidity of the body that occurs after death. The onset may vary from about 10 min to several hours or more after death, depending on the condition of the body at death and on factors in the atmosphere, particularly temperature. Rigor mortis affects the facial musculature first and then spreads to other parts of the body. It is caused by chemical changes in the muscle tissue. The state of rigor usually lasts about 24 hours or until muscle decomposition takes place by acid formation.
rigor mortis[′rig·ər ′mȯrd·əs]
Stiffening and rigidity of the musculature occurring after death, beginning within 5-10 hours, and disappearing after 3-4 days.
Pathol the stiffness of joints and muscular rigidity of a dead body, caused by depletion of ATP in the tissues. It begins two to four hours after death and lasts up to about four days, after which the muscles and joints relax