Total IV Anesthesia

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 will keep you asleep, 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 medicine has some risk. Your doctor will review problems that may happen such as:

  • Allergic reaction to medicine
  • Breathing problems, may need a breathing tube during surgery
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Hallucinations or vivid dreams
  • Awareness of the procedure—very rare

Some things increase your risk of complications. Talk to your doctor if you:

  • Smoke—you may be asked to stop smoking before your procedure
  • Drink
  • Have chronic disease, such as obesity or sleep apnea

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

Talk to your doctor about any medicine you take. This includes supplements. Some change how the anesthesia works. Some medicine may be stopped up to 1 week before.

You will need to stop eating food and drinks the night before. Follow steps that your care team give to you.

Description of the Procedure

A doctor of anesthesia will balance the medicine you need. A needle will be inserted into a vein, on your hand or arm. A tube will be connected to the needle. Medicine will pass through during the surgery. TIVA is given in phases:

  • First—medicine is given until you are unconscious.
  • Maintenance—medicine is adjusted based on your response.
  • Recovery—effects are slowly reversed. This will allow you to wake up.

Immediately After Procedure

You will watched while you recover. Steps may be taken to manage any side effects.

How Long Will It Take?

This will depend on what the surgery is.

How Much Will It Hurt?

TIVA is designed to prevent pain during surgery. You may feel some discomfort when the IV needle is inserted.

Post-procedure Care

You will be able to wake shortly after the surgery. You may feel some mild side effects for 1 to 2 days.

Call Your Doctor If Any of the Following Occurs

Call your doctor if any of these occur:

  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting
  • Persistent headache
  • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • Persistent confusion or memory problems

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


American College of Surgeons
American Society of Anesthesiologists


Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society
Canadian Association of General Surgeons


Anesthesia fact sheet. National Institute of General Medical Sciences website. Available at: Updated May 2015. Accessed March 7, 2019.
Procedural sedation and analgesia. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: https://www.dyname.... Updated February 26, 2019. Accessed March 7, 2019.
Total intravenous anaesthesia (TIVA) EBME website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated May 2009. Accessed March 7, 2019.
Types of anesthesia and your anesthesiologist. John Hopkins Medicine website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed March 7, 2019.
Last reviewed November 2018 by Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 3/7/2019

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