Apgar score

Apgar score

The Apgar score was devised in 1952 by Dr. Virginia Apgar as a simple and repeatable method to quickly and summarily assess the health of newborn children immediately after childbirth. [cite journal
last = Apgar
first = Virginia
url = http://apgar.net/virginia/Apgar_Paper.html
title = A proposal for a new method of evaluation of the newborn infant
journal = Curr. Res. Anesth. Analg.
year = 1953
volume = 32
issue = 4
pages = 260–267
pmid = 13083014
] [cite journal
author = Finster M
coauthors = Wood M.
title = The Apgar score has survived the test of time
journal = Anesthesiology
year = 2005
month = April
volume = 102
issue = 4
pages = 855–857
pmid = 15791116

doi = 10.1097/00000542-200504000-00022] Apgar was an anesthesiologist who developed the score in order to ascertain the effects of obstetric anesthesia on neonates.

The Apgar score is determined by evaluating the newborn baby on five simple criteria on a scale from zero to two, then summing up the five values thus obtained. The resulting Apgar score ranges from zero to 10. The five criteria (Appearance, Pulse,Grimace, Activity, Respiration) are used as a mnemonic learning aid.


Interpretation of scores

The test is generally done at one and five minutes after birth, and may be repeated later if the score is and remains low. Scores 3 and below are generally regarded as critically low, 4 to 6 fairly low, and 7 to 10 generally normal.

A low score on the one-minute test may show that the neonate requires medical attention [cite journal
author = Casey BM
coauthors = McIntire DD, Leveno KJ
title = The continuing value of the Apgar score for the assessment of newborn infants
journal = N Engl J Med.
date = February 15, 2001
volume = 344
issue = 7
pages = 467–471
pmid = 11172187

doi = 10.1056/NEJM200102153440701] but is not necessarily an indication that there will be long-term problems, particularly if there is an improvement by the stage of the five-minute test. If the Apgar score remains below 3 at later times such as 10, 15, or 30 minutes, there is a risk that the child will suffer longer-term neurological damage. There is also a small but significant increase of the risk of cerebral palsy. However, the purpose of the Apgar test is to determine quickly whether a newborn needs immediate medical care; it was "not" designed to make long-term predictions on a child's health.

Contrary to common belief, the Apgar score is no longer used to decide if a neonate requires resuscitation. That decision is based on emergency assessment of airway, breathing, and circulation ("ABC").


Some ten years after the initial publication, the acronym APGAR was coined in the US as a mnemonic learning aid: Appearance (skin color), Pulse (heart rate), Grimace (reflex irritability), Activity (muscle tone), and Respiration. The mnemonic was introduced in 1963 by the pediatrician Dr. Joseph Butterfield. The same acronym is used in German ("Atmung, Puls, Grundtonus, Aussehen, Reflexe"), Spanish ("Apariencia, Pulso, Gesticulación, Actividad, Respiración") and French ("A"pparence, "P"ouls, "G"rimace, "A"ctivité et "R"espiration) although the letters have different meanings.

Another such backformation attempting to make "Apgar" an acronym is American Pediatric Gross Assessment Record. The test, however, is named for Dr. Apgar, making "Apgar" an eponymous backronym.

The test has also been reformulated with a different mnemonic, How Ready Is This Child, but the criteria are essentially the same: Heart rate, Respiratory effort, Irritabililty, Tone, and Color.

ee also

*Glasgow Coma Scale
*Pediatric Glasgow Coma Scale


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Apgar score — [ap′gär΄] n. a quantitative rating test with a maximum of ten used to measure the vital signs of a newborn a minute or so after birth: a score greater than seven signifies good health …   English World dictionary

  • APGAR-Score — Virginia Apgar Der Apgar Score ist ein Punkteschema, mit dem sich der klinische Zustand von Neugeborenen standardisiert beurteilen lässt. Mit Hilfe dieses Scores gelingt es, die Anpassung an das Leben außerhalb der Gebärmutter und die Überführung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Apgar-Score — Virginia Apgar Der Apgar Score ist ein Punkteschema, mit dem sich der klinische Zustand von Neugeborenen standardisiert beurteilen lässt. Mit Hilfe dieses Scores gelingt es, die Anpassung an das Leben außerhalb der Gebärmutter und die Überführung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Apgar score — A practical method of evaluating the physical condition of a newborn infant shortly after delivery. The Apgar score is a number arrived at by scoring the heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone, skin color, and response to a catheter in the… …   Medical dictionary

  • Apgar score — noun Etymology: Virginia Apgar died 1974 American anesthesiologist Date: 1962 an index used to evaluate the condition of a newborn infant based on a rating of 0, 1, or 2 for each of the five characteristics of color, heart rate, response to… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Apgar score — [ apgə] noun Medicine a number expressing the physical condition of a newborn infant (a score of ten representing the best possible condition). Origin 1960s: named after the American anaesthesiologist Virginia Apgar …   English new terms dictionary

  • Apgar score — a method of rapidly assessing the general state of a baby immediately after birth. A maximum of 2 points is given for each of the following signs, usually measured at one minute and five minutes after delivery: type of breathing, heart rate,… …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • Apgar score — Ap′gar score [[t]ˈæp gɑr[/t]] n. med a quantitative evaluation of the health of a newborn, rating breathing, heart rate, muscle tone, etc., on a scale of 1 to 10 • Etymology: after Virginia Apgar (1909–74), U.S. physician …   From formal English to slang

  • Apgar score — /ˈæpga skɔ/ (say apgah skaw) noun the score used to evaluate the fitness of a newborn infant, based on heart rate, respiration, muscle tone, cough reflex and colour. {named after V Apgar, 1909–74, US anaesthetist} …   Australian English dictionary

  • Apgar score — a numerical measure of the physical health of a newborn infant derived by evaluating heart rate, muscle tone, respiratory effort, response to stimulation, skin color, and other physiological indicators. [named after V. APGAR] * * * …   Universalium

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