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 (breathingheart 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.

Apgar Score012
Breathingnot breathingslow or irregular breathing20 to 50 breaths per minute, regular rhythm
Heart rateno heart rate< 100 beats per minute100 to 104 beats per minute
Reflex responseno response to nasal stimulationfacial grimace with nasal stimulationsneeze or cough with nasal stimulation
Muscle toneflaccidsome flexing of the arms and legsactive movement
Skin colorcyanotic (bluish gray)cyanotic limbspink


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