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Apgar score (infant vitality score)

May 9, 2017 | Growth and development

The Apgar score (infant vitality score) is a quick and simple assessment of the newborn infant’s vitality. The Apgar score is named after Virginia Apgar, an anaesthesiologist who developed the score in 1952.

The Apgar scale is determined by evaluating the newborn baby on five simple criteria, then summing up their value. The resulting score – recorded at one minute and five minutes from the time of birth – ranges from zero to 10.

The Apgar assessment helps physicians determine if the newborn baby requires immediate medical treatment, but is not an indicator of the infant’s long-term development.

The five criteria of the Apgar score:

Criteria Score of 0 Score of 1 Score of 2
Skin colour blue or pale all over body pink, blue at extremities pink
Pulse rate absent less than 100 beats per minute more than 100 beats per minute
Reflex irritability grimace no response to stimulation grimace on suction or aggressive stimulation cry on stimulation
Activity none some flexion strong flexion
Respiratory effort absent convulsive, weak crying strong, robust cry


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