- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Apgar's score

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The Apgar score is a system for point score evaluation of the physical condition of a newborn one minute after birth. The heart rate, respiration, muscle tone, responses to stimuli, and colour are each rated 0, 1, or 2. The maximum total score is 10. A score of seven or less indicates a problem requiring immediate attention if the baby is to survive. The test may be repeated at 5 or more minutes after birth in order to judge recovery of infants with low scores.

Ten years after the publication of the Apgar score in 1953, an acronym was reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association that helped teach the Apgar score by using the letters of her last name. This acronym was co-authored by Dr. Joseph Butterfield.

A Appearance (skin colour).
0 points: Blue-grey, pale all over. 1 point: Normal, except for extremities. 2 points: Normal over entire body.

P Pulse.
0 points: Absent. 1 point: Below 100 bpm. 2 points: Above 100 bpm

G Grimace (reflex irritability).
0 points: No response. 1 point: Grimace. 2 points: Sneeze, cough, pulls away.

A Activity (muscle tone).
0 points: Absent. 1 point: Arms and legs flexed. 2 points: Active movement.

R Respiration.
0 points: Absent. 1 point: Slow, irregular. 2 points: Good, crying.


  • V. Apgar:
    A proposal of a New Method of Evaluation of the Newborn Infant.
    Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia, 1953, 32: 261-267.
  • V. Apgar, D. A. Holaday, L. S. James, J. H. Weisbrod, and C. Berrichs:
    Evaluation of the newborn infant. 2. report.
    Journal of the American Medical Association, Chicago, 1958, 168: 1985-1988.

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