Diseases & Conditions


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Apgar score


A test devised in 1952 by the late pediatrician Virginia Apgar to quickly assess the clinical status of a newborn infant. Newborns are rated at one minute, five minutes, and 10 minutes after delivery on five qualities: • Appearance (color) • Pulse (heartbeat) • Grimace (reflex) • Activity (muscle tone) • Respiration (breathing). A score is determined by awarding zero, one, or two points in each category. The higher the score, the better the baby’s condition—scores of seven and over indicate the baby is in good condition. Although the APGAR test is medically useful, it does have its limits. While the score should improve from one test to the next, in most cases long-term behavior of the baby should not be predicted based upon the APGAR score. While the score is a good quick way to assess a newborn’s health, parents should not put too much emphasis on the score as a predictor of the baby’s future intellect or performance.