Friday, October 31, 2014

Table of Contents

Definition

APGAR is a quick test performed at 1 and 5 minutes after birth. The 1-minute score determines how well the baby tolerated the birthing process. The 5-minute score assesses how well the newborn is adapting to the new environment.

The rating is based on a total score of 1 to 10, with 10 suggesting the healthiest infant.


Alternative Names

Newborn scoring


How the test is performed

The APGAR test is done by a doctor, midwife, or nurse. The health care provider will examine the baby's:

  • Breathing effort
  • Heart rate
  • Muscle tone
  • Reflexes
  • Skin color

Each category is scored with 0, 1, or 2, depending on the observed condition.

  • Breathing effort:
    • If the infant is not breathing, the respiratory score is 0.
    • If the respirations are slow or irregular, the infant scores 1 for respiratory effort.
    • If the infant cries well, the respiratory score is 2.
  • Heart rate is evaluated by stethoscope. This is the most important assessment:
    • If there is no heartbeat, the infant scores 0 for heart rate.
    • If heart rate is less than 100 beats per minute, the infant scores 1 for heart rate.
    • If heart rate is greater than 100 beats per minute, the infant scores 2 for heart rate.
  • Muscle tone:
    • If muscles are loose and floppy, the infant scores 0 for muscle tone.
    • If there is some muscle tone, the infant scores 1.
    • If there is active motion, the infant scores 2 for muscle tone.
  • Grimace response or reflex irritability is a term describing response to stimulation such as a mild pinch:
    • If there is no reaction, the infant scores 0 for reflex irritability.
    • If there is grimacing, the infant scores 1 for reflex irritability.
    • If there is grimacing and a cough, sneeze, or vigorous cry, the infant scores 2 for reflex irritability.
  • Skin color:
    • If the skin color is pale blue, the infant scores 0 for color.
    • If the body is pink and the extremities are blue, the infant scores 1 for color.
    • If the entire body is pink, the infant scores 2 for color.

How to prepare for the test


How the test will feel


Why the test is performed

This test is a screening tool to determine whether a newborn needs medical attention to stabilize the heart or breathing function.



Review Date: 11/30/2009
Reviewed By: Deirdre O’Reilly, M.D., M.P.H., Neonatologist, Division of Newborn Medicine, Children’s Hospital Boston and Instructor in Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org)