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Q: Terminology: Apgar score
 
A: The Apgar score is used in evaluating the neonatal status of a child. It is a quick general evaluation of the baby's overall functioning. A score (0 or 1) is given to each of the five major bodily systems (heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone, skin color, and reflexes in response to stimulation) and is taken 1 minute and 5 minutes after delivery and, therefore, consists of two numbers, like 7/8. The Apgar score ranges from 1 to 10. A typical healthy American infant scores from 7/8 to 9/9. The first number is the score after the first minute and the second number is the score after the fifth minute. The first score is useful mainly as an indicator of how difficult the birth was, and the second score is important as a relatively long-term prediction. If only one score is shown (as sometimes happens in medical documents from Russia) it usually means the second score (the 5 minutes check-up). From Russian medical reports, it is usually not known how the Apgar scores were actually obtained and what constituted "peaks" and "valleys" during the examination.
 

 

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