The Perfect Stethoscope. It's something we are all in search of, wondering at times, does it even exist? I have tried my fair share of stethoscopes from Littmann to MDF, honestly because I can never keep one for longer than 6 months without losing it somewhere between postpartum rounding, stat c-sections, and precipitous deliveries. However, now more than ever, with increasing age and complexity of our obstetrics patients, it is more important that we OB/GYNs are equipped with a high-quality stethoscope, as some of our most deadly complications have cardiopulmonary manifestations.
It is with this is in the back of my mind, that I agreed to review the ERKA Sensitive Stethoscope. The morning I received it, I unpacked it and took it to work. Later that evening, I was rounding on complicated post-op gyn-oncology patient with a post-op fever, on day zero. I quickly began my assessment for the 5 main causes of post-op fever (wind, water, wound, walking, wonder drugs). As I was auscultating her lungs, I was taken aback at the clarity of which I was able to appreciate her lung sounds, and also the very fine crackles at the base of her lungs. Normally I have to, 1. tap a few times and adjust to make sure the stethoscope is on and I am hearing everything, because there is usually so much background noise, and 2. listen for a few extra breathes just to make sure what I am hearing is accurate, but not the case with this stethoscope. The ability of this stethoscope, to not only eliminate background noise, but also to magnify the heart and lung sounds of the patient, was truly unmatched. That is the moment I fell in love with this stethoscope.
Aside from it being an excellent tool for auscultation, the stethoscope is sleek, durable, and comes in numerous colors. It was tossed in and out of bags, onto counters, and in jacket pockets for the past month, and has not a single scratch, and all pieces are intact. My life is so busy and often things are tossed here and there in the haste of emergencies, so I really needed something that would be durable and this one has held up amazingly so far. The Erka stethoscope I did find was heavier than my previous Littmann, but that gave me the impression that perhaps it was more durable, so not a con for me!
I highly recommend you give the Erka Stethoscope line a try, handcrafted in Germany, Medelita is the only US retailer. They are reasonably priced compared to Littman and MDF. I was previously a Littmann loyalist, as it was my first stethoscope, however after trying out the Erka Sensitive Stethoscope, I am now an Erka believer. I truly believe it is the perfect stethoscope: clear auscultation, durable, and sleek!