The original group, the First Open Heart Society of B.C., was founded in Victoria in 1973, in the interest of heart patients on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

A Greater Vancouver Branch was formed in 1986 by people who happily shared a common bond—a renewed life after open heart surgery.

Our membership includes open hearters from the Lower Mainland and Western Canada. The Pacific Open Heart Association (POHA) was officially formed in 1988.

We offer a Hospital Visitation Program comprised of teams of members who visit patients during their stay at St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver General Hospital and Royal Columbian Hospital.

In addition, we visit patients awaiting surgery in Lower Mainland feeder hospitals before they are transferred to one of the three main surgery hospitals.

We offer moral support and encouragement before and after surgery. Experience shows that both patient and family benefit from seeing and talking to former open hearters.


Since 1986, our visitors have met about fifty patients a week. The Cardiac Surgeons, Cardiologists and Nursing staffs, at the hospitals we visit, consider our Association a credible resource. They endorse our program and report beneficial results to both patients and families.