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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Difference between Rigor Mortis and Cadaveric Spasm

Though rigor mortis and cadaveric spasm both occur both following death but they are totally different things. Cadaveric spasm is a localized contraction of muscle that was occurring during the time of death and perisisted then after unlike Rigor mortis which developed through out the body including visceral muscle. There is a period of flaccidity before rigor mortis  develops. The following points helps us differentiate between the cadaveric spam and rigor mortis.

Know the physiology behind rigor mortis 

Rigor Mortis
Cadaveric Spasm
Time Of Onset
Within 1-2 hours of death
At the time of Death
Occurs in all death except burn
Predisposed by sudden violent death
Both Voluntary and involuntary Muscle
Heart is the first to be involved
Small muscle of digits develop it last
Local Voluntary Muscle eg. Hand with knife in suicide
Muscle Stiffening
Moderate force required to break it
Great Force required to break
Primary flaccidity
Does not occur
Mechanism of Production
Still Obscure
Response of Electrical Stimuli
Medico Legal Importance
Gives idea about Time since death
Gives idea about Mode of Death


  1. When a persons has lays on there face after death does that deformity ever leave.

    1. Rather than deformity the bluish discoloration or livor mortis may be present over the dependent area.

  2. This difference between rigor motis and cadaveric spasm is very interesting. Jesus died on the cross. The Shroud of Turin has the image of Jesus in rigor motis state and maintains his crucifixion posture. But dead Jesus did not hang long enough for full rigor motis to occur on the cross itself. It is then cadaveric spas

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