Pulmonary hypertension patients can rejoice. Doctors at the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation have achieved a breakthrough in diagnosis and treatment of the rare, life-threatening condition.

Doctors have discovered an early warning system in a protein called PIM-1. Dr. Sébastien Bonnet has established that the PIM-1 cells can be used as markers of pulmonary hypertension.

Analyzing a few blood samples, doctors were surprised to find that the greater the PIM-1 levels, the more severe the pulmonary hypertension in the patient. He says this opens the doors to using regular blood tests to look at PIM-1 levels. “If there is a slight increase in PIM-1, we will know that something is going on.”

The disorder which was earlier diagnosed though a six-minute walking test have thus far had very poor diagnosis, a reason why doctors were unable to reverse the condition. Now, by blocking PIM-1 protein, they can effectively offer a cure.

Reiterating the rare occurrence of the disease and the delayed diagnosis in the past, Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson Dr. Beth Abramson, recommends that patients pay particular attention to any symptoms like shortness of breath or extreme tiredness.

Pulmonary hypertension is a condition when there is peculiarly high blood pressure develops in the pulmonary arteries, those arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lungs. As the condition gets severe, the patient finds it more tough to breathe and suffer from extreme fatigue and swelling of feet and ankles.

The discovery of the early warning system by Dr. Sébastien Bonnet has earned him the year’s Canadian Cardiovascular Society's Young Investigator's Award.