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Rafi Avitsian, MD


Rafi Avitsian, MD

Appointed: 2005

Rafi Avitsian, MD
Department: General Anesthesiology
Section Head
Location: Cleveland Clinic Main Campus
Mail Code E31
9500 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44195
Adults Only

Biographical Sketch

Rafi Avitsian M.D. is the Section Head for the Neurosurgical Anesthesiology Section in Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF) in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. He is also the program director of neurosurgical anesthesia fellowship program and a staff anesthesiologist in this department. He is an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology in Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University.

He is of Armenian origin. Born in Iran, he immigrated to Canada later in life before coming to Cleveland Clinic, where he completed his internship, residency and fellowship, with a focus on neurosurgical anesthesiology. After graduation, he joined the staff in the Department of General Anesthesiology at Cleveland Clinic. He is also an assistant professor of anesthesiology in the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University. He is board-certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology.

His clinical interests include neurosurgical anesthesia, particularly anesthesia for intracranial vascular surgeries. His clinical studies are directed mostly towards finding the optimal anesthetic methods to decrease post-operative complications after neurosurgery. He is also interested in airway management, especially for patients with difficult airway issues, and he has an active role in teaching as well as innovating in the area of airway management.

Dr. Avitsian also has special passion for resident education and was awarded various teaching awards including: Best Teacher of the Year, the Arthur Barnes Distinguished Teacher Award and the Distinguished Educator Award.

Education & Fellowships

Fellowship - Cleveland Clinic
Neurosurgical Anesthesiology
Cleveland, OH USA
Residency - Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland, OH USA
Internship - Cleveland Clinic
Internal Medicine
Cleveland, OH USA
Medical School - Tehran University School of Medicine
Tehran Iran


  • Anesthesiology

Specialty Interests

brain protection, education in anesthesiology, general anesthesia, neurosurgical anesthesiology

Awards & Honors

  • Recipient, Arthur Barnes Distinguished Teacher Award, from SRNA school, Anesthesiology Institute, Cleveland Clinic 2006
  • Scholarship in Teaching Award, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, 2006
  • Recipient of Distinguished Educator I Certificate, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 2006
  • Teacher of the Year Award, Department of General Anesthesiology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 2006
  • Highest teaching score by anesthesiology residents, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 2005
  • Carole Ferguson Award for Best Resident of the Year, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 2003

Innovations & Patents

  • Innovative design of a Central Line Catheter with ability to access the Jugular Bulb.
  • Innovative design of a fiberoptic scope sheath to decrease cross contamination rate between patients.


  • American Society of Anesthesiologists
  • Society for Neurosurgical Anesthesia and Critical Care
  • Society for Education in Anesthesiology
  • Society for Airway Management

Industry Relationships

Cleveland Clinic physicians and scientists may collaborate with the pharmaceutical or medical device industries to help develop medical breakthroughs or provide medical expertise or education. Cleveland Clinic strives to make scientific advances that will benefit patient care and support outside relationships that promise public benefit. In order for the discoveries of Cleveland Clinic physicians' and scientists' laboratories and investigations to benefit the public, these discoveries must be commercialized in partnership with industry. As experts in their fields, Cleveland Clinic physicians and scientists are often sought after by industry to consult, provide expertise and education.

To assure professional and commercial integrity in such matters, Cleveland Clinic maintains a program that reviews these collaborations and, when appropriate, puts measures in place to minimize bias that may result from ties to industry. The Cleveland Clinic publicly discloses the names of companies when (i) its physicians/scientists receive $5,000 or more per year (or, in rare cases, equity or stock options) for speaking and consulting, (ii) its physicians/scientists serve as a fiduciary, (iii) its physicians/scientists receive or have the right to receive royalties or (iv) its physicians/ scientists hold any equity interest for the physician's/scientist's role as inventor, discoverer, developer, founder or consultant.* In publicly disclosing this information, the Cleveland Clinic tries to provide information as accurately as possible about its physicians' and scientists' connections with industry.

As of 12/2/2014, Dr. Avitsian has reported the financial relationships with the companies listed below. In general, patients should feel free to contact their doctor about any of the relationships and how the relationships are overseen by the Cleveland Clinic. To learn more about the Cleveland Clinic's policies on collaborations with industry and innovation management, go to our Integrity in Innovation page.

Royalty Payments. Dr. Avitsian receives or has the right to receive royalty payments for inventions or discoveries commercialized through the companies shown below:

  • Karl Storz Endoscopy-America, Inc.
  • Parker Hannifin Corporation

Right to Future Distribution of Cleveland Clinic Financial Interest. Dr. Avitsian may receive future financial benefits from the Cleveland Clinic for inventions or discoveries commercialized through the companies shown below:

  • Karl Storz Endoscopy-America, Inc.
  • Parker Hannifin Corporation

Public Health Service-Reportable Financial Conflicts of Interest. Cleveland Clinic scientists and physicians engage in basic, translational and clinical research activities, working to solve health problems, enhance patient care and improve quality of life for patients. Interactions with industry are essential to bringing the researchers’ discoveries to the public, but can present the potential for conflicts of interest related to their research activities. Click here to view a listing of instances where Cleveland Clinic has identified a Public Health Service (PHS)-Reportable Financial Conflict of Interest and has put measures in place to ensure that, to the extent possible, the design, conduct and reporting of the research is free from bias.

* Cleveland Clinic physicians and scientists subscribe to the guidance presented in the PhRMA Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals and the AdvaMed Code of Ethics on Interactions with Health Care Professionals. As such, gifts of substantial value are generally prohibited.

Languages Spoken

  • Armenian
  • English
  • Persian