Article

The Apgar score

University of Greifswald, Griefswald, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany
PEDIATRICS (Impact Factor: 5.3). 10/2006; 118(3):1314-5; author reply 1315-6. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2006-1254
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: The Apgar score should be an objective method to assess the state of newborns; however, its applicability in preterm infants is hampered by large variations among different observers. The study tested whether physicians that give low scores to written case descriptions also apply lower scores to preterm infants. Descriptions (BMJ 2004; 329: 143-4) were sent to 14 neonatal units. Physicians were asked to evaluate the Apgar (case score). From seven units Apgar scores of all very low birth weight infants (VLBW) born between January 2004 and December 2006 were obtained from charts (clinical score). In total, 121 physicians from 14 institutions (median 9, range 3-15) replied: 24 residents with <6-month and 28 with >6-month neonatal experience, and 69 consultants. The assessment of the case scores was very heterogeneous with large variations in respiration, muscle tone and reflexes. Clinical scores were obtained from 1000 VLBW infants. The score depended on the gestational age, with a median of 4 at 24 and 7 at 27 weeks. With one exception, centres that assigned low case scores had also low clinical scores. There is considerable variation in assigning Apgar scores. Definitions are required to apply the Apgar score to infants under clinical conditions such as preterm delivery, resuscitation or artificial ventilation.
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate the relationship between low Apgar score and neonatal mortality in preterm neonates. Infant birth and death certificate data from the US National Center for Health Statistics for 2001-2002 were analysed. Primary outcome was 28-day mortality for 690, 933 neonates at gestational ages 24-36 weeks. Mortality rates were calculated for each combination of gestational age and 5-min Apgar score. Relative risks of mortality, by high vs. low Apgar score, were calculated for each age. Distribution of Apgar scores depended on gestational age, the youngest gestational ages having higher proportions of low Apgar scores. Median Apgar score ranged from 6 at 24 weeks, to 9 at 30-36 weeks gestation. The relative risk of death was significantly higher at Apgar scores 0-3 vs. 7-10, including at the youngest gestational ages, ranging from 3.1 (95% confidence interval 2.9, 3.4) at 24 weeks to 18.5 (95% confidence interval 15.7, 21.8) at 28 weeks.   Low Apgar score was associated with increased mortality in premature neonates, including those at 24-28 weeks gestational age, and may be a useful tool for clinicians in assessing prognosis and for researchers as a risk prediction variable.
    Acta Paediatrica 12/2010; 99(12):1785-9. DOI:10.1111/j.1651-2227.2010.01935.x · 1.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To estimate the association between an Apgar score of less than 7 at 5 minutes after birth and long-term cognitive function. A linkage between the Swedish Medical Birth Registry and the Swedish School Grade Registry was performed. All singletons born from 1973 to 1986 after 36 6/7 weeks of gestation to Swedish-born women were included. Fetuses that were stillborn, newborns who had congenital malformations or were small for gestational age, and children who died or emigrated before 16 years of age were excluded from the analysis. The study included 877,618 individuals in the analysis. Newborns with Apgar scores less than 7 at 5 minutes after birth showed a significantly increased risk of never receiving graduation grades, presumably because they went to special schools because of cognitive impairment or other special educational needs (odds ratio 1.93, 95% confidence interval 1.75-2.14). One out of 44 newborns (numbers needed to harm) with an Apgar score of less than 7 at 5 minutes after birth will go to a special school because of the antenatal or perinatal factors that caused the low Apgar score. Nearly all school children who had Apgar scores of less than 7 at 5 minutes after birth showed an increased risk of graduating from compulsory school without graduation grades in that specific subject or receiving the lowest possible grades and were also less likely to receive the highest possible grade. An Apgar score of less than 7 at 5 minutes after birth is associated with subtle cognitive impairment, as measured by academic achievement at 16 years of age. II.
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