Nyst rule

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The Nysten rule (also: Nysten'sche rule) describes the sequential occurrence of rigor mortis at the various muscle groups . The basic sequence of the solidifying parts of the body is as follows:

  1. jaw
  2. neck
  3. upper extremity
  4. lower extremity

The rule does not apply in all cases as described. In particular, it depends on which muscle groups were still stressed before death - rigor mortis occurs there first.

It owes its name to the French pediatrician and specialist author Pierre-Hubert Nysten (1771-1818).


  • VADEMECUM Forensic Medicine, 5th revised edition, Verlag Gesundheit GmbH, 1990, page 42

Individual evidence

  1. Madea / Dettmeyer basic knowledge for legal medicine, Springerverlag 2007, p. 73
  2. P.-H. Nysten: (Nouveau) Dictionnaire de médicine, de chirurgie, pharmacie, des sciences accessories et de l'art vétérinaire. 3rd edition, Paris 1824.