Apgar score for assessing newborns


Columbia University College Of Physicians and Surgeons


Virginia Apgar, MD, professor of anesthesiology, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons


Apgar’s interest in obstetrical anesthesia led her to develop the Apgar score, a standardized rating scale that allows nurses in the delivery room to assess a newborn’s heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone, reflex response, and color. Apgar presented the method at a scientific meeting in 1952 and published her findings a year later. The assessment, given both one and five minutes after birth, is routinely used in delivery rooms. In 1964, a multi-institutional study of more than 17,000 babies showed that the Apgar score, especially the five-minute test, can predict survival and neurological development in newborns.