Medical Definition of Apgar score

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Apgar score: An objective score of the condition of a baby after birth. This score is determined by scoring the heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone, skin color, and response to a catheter in the nostril. Each of these objective signs receives 0, 1, or 2 points. An Apgar score of 10 means an infant is in the best possible condition. The Apgar score is done routinely 60 seconds after the birth of the infant. A child with a score of 0 to 3 needs immediate resuscitation. The Apgar score is often repeated 5 minutes after birth, and in the event of a difficult resuscitation, the Apgar score may be done again at 10, 15, and 20 minutes.

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Reviewed on 12/4/2018

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