In 1953, Virginia Apgar published the article "A Proposal for a New Method for Evaluation of the Newborn Infant" about her method for scoring newborn infants directly after birth to assess their health and whether medical intervention was necessary. Apgar worked at the Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, New York, as an obstetrical anesthesiologist, a physician who administers pain medication during childbirth. In that capacity, she sought to reestablish clear scoring guidelines for newborn infants so that she could compare which obstetric practices, pain relief methods, and resuscitation methods worked the best during and after childbirth. She published her article in Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia in 1953, and the Apgar scoring system is still used in hospitals around the world as of 2016. In the article, Apgar establishes a scoring system for newborn infants that allows for quick assessment of their health directly after birth and therefore swift intervention by medical personnel to promote healthy development.

Virginia Apgar and colleagues wrote “Evaluation of the Newborn Infant—Second Report” in 1958. This article explained that Apgar’s system for evaluating infants’ condition after birth accurately predicted the health of infants. Apgar had developed the scoring system in 1953 to provide a simple method for determining if an infant needed medical attention after birth. The research team, working at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, New York, studied the Apgar scores of over 15,000 infants from Sloane Hospital for Women in New York City, New York, over a period of five years. In “Evaluation of the Newborn Infant—Second Report,” Apgar and colleagues established that Apgar scores correlated with infants’ health directly after birth and indicated when medical personnel should treat the infant.

In 1952 Virginia Apgar, a physician at the Sloane Women’s Hospital in New York City, New York, created the Apgar score as a method of evaluating newborn infants’ health to determine if they required medical intervention. The score included five separate categories, including heart rate, breathing rate, reaction to stimuli, muscle activity, and color. An infant received a score from zero to two in each category, and those scores added up to the infant’s total score out of ten. An infant with a score of ten was healthy, and those with low scores required medical attention at birth. Apgar originally used the score to determine how infants responded to the pain-relieving drugs given to pregnant women during labor. But it also served to determine when the infant required medical assistance, especially oxygen resuscitation. As of 2016, nearly every hospital in the world uses an updated Apgar score to evaluate the health of newborn infants. The Apgar score has allowed for medical personnel to evaluate an infant directly after birth on an objective scale to determine whether that infant could benefit from possibly life-saving medical intervention.

Virginia Apgar worked as an obstetrical anesthesiologist, administering drugs that reduce women’s pain during childbirth, in the US in the mid-twentieth century. In 1953, Apgar created a scoring system using five easily assessable measurements, including heart rate and breathing rate, to evaluate whether or not infants would benefit from medical attention immediately after birth. Apgar’s system showed that infants who were previously set aside as too sick to survive, despite low Apgar scores, could recover with immediate medical attention. Additionally, Apgar researched the effects of anesthesia used during childbirth and advocated for the prevention and management of birth defects. Apgar’s work led to a decrease in infant mortality rates in the mid-twentieth century, and into the twenty-first century, hospitals around the world still used the Apgar score at one and five minutes after birth.

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