Context: Urine color (Uc) is used to asses urine concentration when laboratory techniques are not feasible.
Objective: To compare the accuracy of Uc scoring using 4 light conditions and 2 scoring techniques with a 7-color Uc chart. Additionally, to assess the results' generalizability, a subsample was compared with scores obtained from fresh samples.
Design: Descriptive laboratory study.
Samples: A total of 178 previously frozen urine samples were scored, and 78 samples were compared with their own fresh outcomes.
Main outcome measure(s): Urine color and accuracy for classifying urine samples were calculated using receiver operating characteristics analysis, allowing us to compare the diagnostic capacity against a 1.020 urine specific gravity cutoff and defining optimal Uc cutoff value.
Results: Urine color was different among light conditions (P < .01), with the highest accuracy (80.3%) of correct classifications of low or high urine concentrations occurring at the brightest light condition. Lower light intensity scored 1.5 to 2 shades darker on the 7-color Uc scale than bright conditions (P < .001), but no further practical differences in accuracy occurred between scoring techniques. Frozen was 0.5 to 1 shade darker than freshly measured Uc (P < .004), but the values were moderately correlated (r = 0.64). A Bland-Altman plot showed that reporting bias mainly affected darker Uc without affecting the diagnostic ability of the method.
Conclusions: Urine color scoring, accuracy, and Uc cutoff values were affected by lighting condition but not by scoring technique, with greater accuracy and a 1-shade-lower Uc cutoff value at the brightest light (ie, light-emitting diode flashlight).
Keywords: assessment of hydration status; fluid intake monitoring; hydration education; hydration status.
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