Dr. Virginia Apgar, pioneer behind Apgar score, being celebrated with Google doodle

Dr Virginia Apgar discovered the Apgar score for determining newborn's health immediately after birth

The American anesthesiologist would have been celebrating her 109th birthday.

Dr Apgar is further known for her contribution in the fields of anaesthesiology and teratology, study of abnormal psychological development in newborns, etc. This five-step test has doctors examine the appearance, pulse, grimace, activity, and respiration of newborns. The Apgar test is conducted a minute after birth, and again four minutes later, in order to judge the effectiveness of intervention. The scores help doctors identify whether a baby has health issues requiring extra care.

"Five points-heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone, reflex response, and color-are observed and given 0, 1, or 2 points". Score above 7 are normal and 4 to 6 are fairly low. A higher score in the test means less threat to the baby's survival.

Apart from developing her famous scoring exercise, Dr. Apgar was a notable advocate for universal vaccination in order to combat the rubella epidemic of the mid-Sixties. However, the number of infant deaths within the first 24 hours after birth stayed constant.

She realized that, despite the fact that the infant mortality rate was decreasing overall in the USA, many newborns were still dying within 24 hours of birth.

Apgar was born on June 7, 1909. She developed a newborn infant's neonatal prognosis also known as Apgar Score, which is taken within minutes of birth, and has now become standard practice in hospitals worldwide.


Apgar was the youngest of three children. And yet, when her division was upgraded to a department, she was passed over for the chair position in favor of a male colleague.

At a time when few women went to medical school, Apgar attended the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, obtaining a medical degree in 1933. Ahead of her time, Apgar had trouble finding people to work for her until anesthesia became a more acknowledged specialty in the 1940s, according to the U.S.

She worked nearly up until her death at the age of 64.

Apgar never married, and died of cirrhosis of the liver at the age of 65.

Her family was devoted to music, but she dedicated her life to lowering the USA's infant mortality rate. When she was introduced to instrument-making, she made two violins along with her friend and later, even made a cello.

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