Hippocratic face

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The Hippocratic face (facies Hippocratica in Latin) is the change produced in the face by impending death or long illness, excessive evacuations, excessive hunger, and the like.

"[If the patient's facial] appearance may be described thus: the nose sharp, the eyes sunken, the temples fallen in, the ears cold and drawn in and their lobes distorted, the skin of the face hard, stretched and dry, and the colour of the face pale or dusky…and if there is no improvement within [a prescribed period of time], it must be realized that this sign portends death."[1]

The Hippocratic face is so called because it was first described by Hippocrates.

A related term is cachexia.


  1. ^ Chadwick, J. & Mann, W.N.(trans.) (1978). Hippocratic writings. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin. pp. 170–171. ISBN 0-14-044451-3.