Knowing What the APGAR Score Evaluates

Part of the Physician Assistant Exam For Dummies Cheat Sheet

An APGAR score measures how well a newborn is doing at 1 and 5 minutes after birth. The five factors you evaluate just happen to line up with the last name of the doctor, Dr. Virginia Apgar, who created the scoring system. Here are the APGAR factors:

  • A = appearance: The skin color should be pinkish.

  • P = pulse: The pulse should be 140–160 beats per minute.

  • G = grimace: After stimulation, the newborn should pull away or maybe give a good cry.

  • A = activity: The arms and legs should be flexed and resist extension.

  • R = respiration: There should be a good, loud cry (from the baby, not you).

Each factor gets a score of 0, 1, or 2, and you perform the test twice. A total score of 7 or greater means that the newborn is in good shape. A score of less than 7 means that the newborn's in trouble. Check your textbooks for details on designating a specific score for each factor.

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