Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Quotes From Dr. Virginia Apgar, Creator of Apgar Scale

Quotes From Dr. Virginia Apgar, Creator of Apgar Scale

Aside from the Apgar Score, she also accomplished numerous feats throughout her career.

As a tribute to her contributions in the field of medicine and health care, Google, therefore, has made an adorable interactive doodle.

The animated doodle for Thursday June 7 shows a woman in lab coat documenting the movements of a newborn positioned atop the words "Apgar".

Dr Apgar developed the now ubiquitous Apgar score in 1952.

The US clinician was born in 1909 in Westfield, New Jersey to a musical family. The Apgar test is conducted a minute after birth, and again four minutes later, in order to judge the effectiveness of intervention. Babies are assessed under five factors: appearance, pulse, grimace, activity and respiration.


In her last years, Apgar developed progressive liver cirrhosis.

Each category is scored with 0, 1, or 2, depending on the observed condition. A higher score in the test means less threat to the baby's survival. She initially studied zoology, chemistry and physiology before attending Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She is known for her work in the fields of anaesthesiology and teratology, a field related to anesthesia (loss of sensation), anesthetics and the study of abnormalities of psychological development in newly-born babies babies.

A score lower than 7 should warn caregivers that the baby needs medical attention. She noticed that the number of infant deaths within the first 24 hours remained high, despite the fact that overall the USA infant mortality rate was decreasing.

Apgar graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in the USA with flying colours. The Apgar score was quickly adopted by hospitals across the US and eventually worldwide and is credited for lowering the national infant mortality rate. "A Guide to Birth Defects" published in collaboration with Joan Beck. She left Columbia, got a master's degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University, and began her work on genetics. She joined Columbia University as its first full-time woman professor in 1949 and was the first woman to head a division at New York's Presbyterian Hospital. She wanted to be a surgeon, but was discouraged by the (male) chairman of surgery. She died in 1974 at the age of 65.

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