Definition of Apgar Score
Apgar score – A standardized measure of an infant’s health status, typically assessed one minute and five minutes after birth. Anesthesiologist Virginia Apgar (1909–1974) developed the scoring system that bears her name in 1953, assigning a point value of 0, 1, or 2 to each of five categories of vital function (breathing, heart rate, reflex response, muscle tone, and skin color) and reporting their sum as the overall Apgar score.
Today the Apgar score is an international standard to assess whether a newborn needs resuscitation (lifesaving measures) and to evaluate the success of resuscitative efforts. The highest score possible is 10; doctors consider a score between 7 and 10 to reflect good health in the infant.
A score between 4 and 7 bears monitoring and perhaps supportive care such as suctioning of the airways or supplemental oxygen.
A score of 3 or lower indicates a life-threatening or critical circumstance for the infant.
|Breathing||not breathing||slow or irregular breathing||20 to 50 breaths per minute, regular rhythm|
|Heart rate||no heart rate||< 100 beats per minute||100 to 104 beats per minute|
|Reflex response||no response to nasal stimulation||facial grimace with nasal stimulation||sneeze or cough with nasal stimulation|
|Muscle tone||flaccid||some flexing of the arms and legs||active movement|
|Skin color||cyanotic (bluish gray)||cyanotic limbs||pink|
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