Total IV Anesthesia



Total IV anesthesia (TIVA) is a type of general anesthesia. Medicine is passed into a vein during surgery.

Reasons for Procedure

TIVA is done to put a person to sleep, block pain, and relax muscles. It acts faster on the body than gas anesthesia. TIVA also has a shorter recovery time and lower risk of problems.

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
  • Allergic reaction to medicine
  • Breathing problems
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Hallucinations or vivid dreams

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

The care team may meet with you to talk about:

  • Any allergies you may have
  • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before the procedure
  • Fasting before the procedure, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
  • Whether you need a ride to and from the procedure

Description of the Procedure

A doctor who specializes in anesthesia will balance the medicine that is needed. A needle will be inserted into a vein on the hand or arm. A tube will be connected to the needle. Medicine will be passed through during the surgery.

TIVA is given in phases:

  • First—medicine is given until the person is unconscious
  • Maintenance—medicine is adjusted based on the person's response
  • Recovery—effects are slowly reversed to allow the person to wake up

How Long Will It Take?

How long it takes will depend on the procedure that was done.

How Much Will It Hurt?

It will take about an hour for the anesthesia to wear off.

Post-procedure Care

At the Hospital

After the procedure, the staff will encourage you to begin walking.

At Home

It will take about 1 to 2 days to recover from the anesthesia. Physical activity should be limited during this time. No important decisions should be made for 24 hours.

Recovery from the procedure that was done may take longer.

Problems to Look Out For

Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
  • Lasting nausea or vomiting
  • Lasting headache
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • Confusion or memory problems

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.


American College of Surgeons
American Society of Anesthesiologists


Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society
Canadian Association of General Surgeons


Anesthesia: What is anesthesia? National Institute of General Medical Sciences website. Available at: Accessed September 28, 2021.
Procedural sedation and analgesia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed September 28, 2021.
Total intravenous anaesthesia (TIVA) EBME website. Available at: Accessed September 28, 2021.
Types of anesthesia. John Hopkins Medicine website. Available at:
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Accessed September 28, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 9/28/2021

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