What is the Apgar score?
Dr. Virginia Apgar, an anesthesiologist, devised a scoring system to assess newborns for their clinical condition and need for medical intervention. The Apgar score (Table 64.3) consists of five parameters that are assessed at 1 and 5 minutes after birth. The five parameters are heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone, reflex irritability, and color. A score of 0, 1, or 2 is assigned to each parameter. A score of 8–10 is normal and requires no additional treatment. A score of 5–7 indicates moderate impairment and may only need supplemental oxygen and tactile stimula-tion. A score of 0–4 indicates the need for immediate resuscitation. The 1 minute score is said to be inversely proportional to the risk of infant mortality, whereas the 5 minute score may relate to the degree of future neurologic impairment.
However, the Apgar score, though still widely per-formed, is not used to guide resuscitation efforts in the delivery room. One should not wait until 1 minute after birth to begin resuscitative efforts .