There is now screening hope for pregnant women with pre-eclampsia.
|British scientists believe they are near to discovering a simple blood test for pre-eclampsia which could potentially save the lives of 1,000 babies a year.
They estimate that the test to predict the potentially fatal complication in pregnancy will be available within the next five years.
Up to one in ten pregnant mothers are affected by the condition at present but scientists say that the test could enable doctors to put those women at risk on preventative medication.
Dr Victoria Bills, who conducted the study, said that there is currently no medicine to cure pre-eclampsia.
However she explained that aspirin is known to decrease the incidence of the condition by 15 per cent, therefore the test could allow doctors to prescribe the drug.
The test would also help to identify the women who are at risk of developing pre-eclampsia so that they can be mindful of the symptoms and arrange to have regular foetal growth scans and blood pressure measurement.
Professor Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), which funded the study carried out by a team at Bristol University, said: "Developing a test to predict pre-eclampsia is a 'holy grail' in medicine.
"These researchers have made a vital finding that, if confirmed by other studies, has the potential to translate into a simple test that could potentially save many lives."