A low Apgar score at birth is strongly linked with cerebral palsy in childhood, concludes a Norwegian study published in the BMJ online.
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The score assesses a baby’s condition using five simple criteria – complexion, pulse rate, reaction when stimulated, muscle tone and breathing – on a scale from zero to two.
The five values are then summed up to obtain a score from zero to 10.
Researchers assessed scores for 543,064 children, of which 988 were diagnosed with cerebral palsy before the age of five years. The prevalence of cerebral palsy in children with Apgar scores of less than three was more than 100-fold higher than in children with a score of 10.