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Anesthesiology. 1982 May;56(5):340-50.

A new neurologic and adaptive capacity scoring system for evaluating obstetric medications in full-term newborns.


A variety of examinations are currently available for evaluating the neurobehavior of the newborn. These exams are often difficult and time-consuming to perform, require extensive training of the examiners, and produce results that may be difficult to interpret. The authors describe a new Neurologic and Adaptive Capacity Score (NACS) for full-term neonates and compare it with the Scanlon Early Neonatal Neurobehavioral Scale (ENNS), the most widely used test for evaluating effects of obstetric medication on the neonate. The NACS was designed as a screening test to detect central nervous system depression from drugs and also to differentiate these effects from those found after birth trauma and perinatal asphyxia. The NACS is based on 20 criteria, each of which is given a score of 0, 1, or 2. These criteria assess five general areas: 1) adaptive capacity; 2) passive tone; 3) active tone; 4) primary reflexes; and 5) alertness, crying, and motor activity (general observations). In contrast to the ENNS, the NACS places more emphasis on motor tone, avoids the use of noxious stimuli (pinprick, repeated Moro examinations), takes half the time to perform, and provides for any given baby a single number that immediately identifies a depressed or vigorous neonate.

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