Variability in Apgar Score Assignment among Clinicians: Role of a Simple Clarification

Sabhya Gupta, Girija Natarajan, Dhruv Gupta, Sreenivas Karnati, Meghan Dwaihy, Bo Wang, Sanjay Chawla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective We aimed to evaluate variability in Apgar score (AS) assignment among health care providers (HCPs) and to evaluate whether a simple clarification improves accuracy and consistency of AS assignment. Study Design An electronic questionnaire survey was provided to pediatric residents, nurse practitioners, neonatal fellows, and faculty in level III neonatal intensive care unit and major academic centers in the United State to assign AS for three clinical scenarios. Next, we provided a simple clarification on various components of AS. After review of clarification, responders were asked to provide AS for the same scenarios. We also sought the opinion of responders on the subjectivity of five components of AS. Results A total of 107 responses were collected. Correct assignment before and after clarification improved significantly: heart rate (78 vs. 90%, p = 0.02), reflex (63 vs.75%, p = 0.06), and breathing (82 vs. 96%, p = 0.003). Correct scoring for color and tone were 86 and 67%, respectively. Interobserver agreement improved significantly after clarification. Conclusion There was variability among HCPs for AS assignment, with improvement in correct response as well as consistency after a simple clarification. Availability of this clarification, along with the AS table in delivery room, will improve the correct assignment and consistency of AS for high-risk infants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-13
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Perinatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Apgar score
  • premature
  • resuscitation
  • variability


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