Apgar Score

1 What is an Apgar Score?

The Apgar score is a method for assessing the newborn infants by scoring the heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone, skin color, and reflex irritability (response to a catheter in the nostril). For each of these objective signs it can be given 0, 1, or 2 points so the maximum score is 10.

It is named after American anesthesiologist Dr. Virginia Apgar who invented the scoring method in 1952, and was the first woman to be appointed a full professor at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons. She wanted babies to be assessed in an organized meaningful manner by the delivery-room personnel before they traditionally were dispatched to the nursery.

The Apgar score is done 60 seconds after the birth of the infant and repeated five minutes after birth. If an infant has a Apgar score 10 it is in the best possible condition and if there was a difficult resuscitation of the infant, the Apgar score must be done again at 10, 15, and 20 minutes. After 20 minutes if the Apgar score is persistently low (0-3), there is a prediction of high rates of morbidity (disease) and mortality (death).