The Apgar score is determined by evaluating the newborn baby on five simple criteria on a scale from zero to two, then summing up the five values thus obtained. The resulting Apgar score ranges from zero to 10. The five criteria (Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, Respiration) are used as a mnemonic learning aid.
|Score of 0||Score of 1||Score of 2||Component of Acronym|
|Skin color||blue all over|| blue at extremities|
| no cyanosis|
body and extremities pink
|Reflex irritability||no response to stimulation||grimace/feeble cry when stimulated||sneeze/cough/pulls away when stimulated||Grimace|
|Muscle tone||none||some flexion||active movement||Activity|
|Breathing||absent||weak or irregular||strong||Respiration |
A low score on the one-minute test may show that the neonate requires medical attention but is not necessarily an indication that there will be long-term problems, particularly if there is an improvement by the stage of the five-minute test. If the Apgar score remains below 3 at later times such as 10, 15, or 30 minutes, there is a risk that the child will suffer longer-term neurological damage. There is also a small but significant increase of the risk of cerebral palsy. However, the purpose of the Apgar test is to determine quickly whether a newborn needs immediate medical care; it was not designed to make long-term predictions on a child's health.
Contrary to common belief, the Apgar score is no longer used to decide if a neonate requires resuscitation. That decision is based on emergency assessment of airway, breathing, and circulation ("ABC").
The test has also been reformulated with a different mnemonic, How Ready Is This Child, but the criteria are essentially the same: Heart rate, Respiratory effort, Irritabililty, Tone, and Color.