Five-minute Apgar score and educational outcomes: retrospective cohort study of 751 369 children

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Tweed, Emily J. ; Mackay, Daniel F. ; Nelson, Scott M. ; Cooper, Sally-Ann ; Pell, Jill P. (2016)

Background: The Apgar score is used worldwide for assessing the clinical condition and short-term prognosis of newborn infants. Evidence for a relationship with long-term educational outcomes is conflicting. We investigated whether Apgar score at 5 min after birth was associated with additional support needs (ASN) and educational attainment.\ud \ud Methods: Data on pregnancy, delivery and later educational outcomes for children attending Scottish schools between 2006 and 2011 were collated by linking individual-level data from national educational and maternity databases. The relationship between Apgar score and overall ASN, type-specific ASN and educational attainment was assessed using binary, multinomial and generalised ordinal logistic regression models, respectively. Missing covariate data were imputed.\ud \ud Results: Of the 751 369 children eligible, 9741 (1.3%) had a low or intermediate Apgar score and 49 962 (6.6%) had ASN. Low Apgar score was independently associated with overall ASN status (adjusted OR for Apgar ≤3, OR 1.52 95% CI 1.35 to 1.70), as well as ASN due to cognitive (OR 1.26, 95% CI 1.09 to 1.47), sensory (OR 2.49 95% CI 1.66 to 3.73) and motor (OR 3.57, 95% CI 2.86 to 4.47) impairments. There was a dose-response relationship between Apgar score and overall ASN status: of those scoring 0–3, 10.1% had ASN, compared with 9.1% of those scoring 4–7 and 6.6% of those scoring 7–10. A low Apgar score was associated with lower educational attainment, but this was not robust to adjustment for confounders.\ud \ud Conclusions: Apgar scores are associated with long-term as well as short-term prognoses, and with educational as well as clinical outcomes at the population level.
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