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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:

CriteriaScore of 0Score of 1Score of 2
Skin colourblue or pale all overbody pink, blue at extremitiespink
Pulse rateabsentless than 100 beats per minutemore than 100 beats per minute
Reflex irritability grimaceno response to stimulationgrimace on suction or aggressive stimulationcry on stimulation
Activitynonesome flexionstrong flexion
Respiratory effortabsentconvulsive, weak cryingstrong, robust cry