After a baby is born, it is customary for the newborn team to do an evaluation of the baby's status and to give a score from 0 to 10. This is known as the Apgar score. It was named after Virginia Apgar, M.D. and was introduced in 1952. Apgar scores are taken at 1 minute of age and 5 minutes of age.
In cases where it is alleged that the baby has developed neurological problems from a lack of oxygen, low Apgar scores are one piece of evidence used to determine whether a baby has suffered brain damage. Doubt has been cast by some in the medical community on the predictive value of an Apgar score (especially the 5 minute Apgar) in determining whether there has been a birth injury.
However, in a recent article in the August 2011 edition of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Volume 118-Issue 2) Swedish researchers studied whether school performance at 16 years of age is related to 5 minute Apgar scores.
This was a large study with 877,618 individuals. The study looked at those teenagers who had an Apgar less than 7. The conclusion that was reached was that there is “an association between an Apgar score less than 7 at 5 minutes after birth and long term cognitive functioning.”
Some of the conclusions were that children with low 5 minute Apgar scores have late speech development, need special resources for learning and are more likely to require intervention during their school years. This study debunks the opposing beliefs that Apgar scores are not predictive of future problems.
For more information about cerebral palsy, please look at our website under medical malpractice. If you think that your child has injuries from birth or you have any questions please call us at 1-800-299-HURT.