Reliability of tristimulus colourimetry in the assessment of cutaneous bruise colour

Katherine N. Scafide, Daniel J. Sheridan, Laura A. Taylor, Matthew J. Hayat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background Bruising is one of the most common types of injury clinicians observe among victims of violence and other trauma patients. However, research has shown commonly used qualitative description of cutaneous bruise colour via the naked eye is subjective and unreliable. No published work has formally evaluated the reliability of tristimulus colourimetry as an alternative for assessing bruise colour, despite its clinical and research applications in accurately assessing skin colour. The purpose of this study was to systematically evaluate the test-retest and inter-observer reliability of tristimulus colourimetry in the assessment of cutaneous bruise colour. Methods Two researchers obtained repeated tristimulus colourimetry measures of cutaneous bruises with participants of diverse skin colour. Measures were obtained using the Minolta CR-400 Chomameter. Commission Internationale d'Eclairage (CIE) L∗a∗b∗colour space was used. Data was analysed using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC), Cronbach's alpha, and minimal detectable change (MDC) on all three L∗a∗b∗values. Results The colorimeter demonstrated excellent test-retest or intra-rater reliability (L∗ICC = 0.999; a∗ICC = 0.973; b∗ICC = 0.892) and inter-rater reliability (L∗ICC = 0.997; a∗ICC = 0.976; b∗ICC = 0.982). Conclusions With consistent placement, the tristimulus colourimetry is reliable for the objective assessment and documentation of cutaneous bruise colour for purposes of clinical practice and research. Recommendations for use in practice/research are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1258-1263
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Assessment
  • Bruise
  • Bruise colour
  • Reliability
  • Tristimulus colourimetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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