This study included all newborns with Apgar scores below seven at one minute after birth who were born in 1986 and whose births were notified to the South Australian Perinatal Statistics Collection. Univariate comparisons were made of the demographic, obstetric and pregnancy outcome characteristics of the 301 newborns whose Apgar scores remained below seven at five minutes and the 3165 whose scores recovered to seven or more. The results provide a general risk profile of the 301 newborn infants who perform poorly at birth, as indicated by a low Apgar score at both one and five minutes. Adverse risk factors identified in this study were similar to those for intellectual disability (mental retardation) and cerebral palsy in South Australia. It is suggested that persisting low Apgar scores, when combined with the other risk factors demonstrated in this and previous studies, would provide more reliable prognostic information than would Apgar scores alone. The study also shows that the majority of infants with low Apgar scores at one minute scored seven or better at five minutes. This demonstrates, that although a low one minute Apgar score has value in identifying newborns in need of immediate attention, it must be supplemented by the five minute score's stronger association with perinatal morbidity.
- Apgar score
- Perinatal risk factors
- Perinatal statistics collection
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