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The aim of this study was to analyze NSQIP (National Surgical Quality Improvement Program) data to better understand the incidence, risk factors, and thirty-day complication rates associated with transfusions in primary total hip and knee arthroplasty.We identified 9362 total hip and 13,662 total knee arthroplasty procedures from the database and separated those in which any red blood-cell transfusion was performed within seventy-two hours after surgery from those with no transfusion. Patient demographics, comorbidities, preoperative laboratory values, intraoperative variables, and postoperative complications were compared between patients who received a transfusion and those who did not. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify independent risk factors for receiving a transfusion as well as for associated postoperative complications (thirty-day incidences of infection, venous thromboembolism, and mortality).The transfusion rate after total hip arthroplasty was 22.2%. Significant risk factors for receiving a transfusion were age (OR [odds ratio] per ten years = 10.1), preoperative anemia (OR = 3.6), female sex (OR = 2.0), BMI (body mass index) of <30 kg/m2 (OR = 1.4), and ASA (American Society of Anesthesiologists) class of >2 (OR = 1.3). Multivariate logistic regression analysis indicated that adjusted odds of infection, venous thromboembolism, and mortality did not differ significantly between patients who received a transfusion and those who did not. The transfusion rate after total knee arthroplasty was 18.3%. Risk factors for receiving a transfusion were age (OR per ten years = 10.2), preoperative anemia (OR = 3.8), BMI of <30 kg/m2 (OR = 1.4), female sex (OR = 1.3), and ASA class of >2 (OR = 1.3). Multivariate logistic regression indicated that a transfusion was significantly associated with mortality (OR = 2.7) but not with infection or venous thromboembolism.We did not find a strong association between perioperative red blood-cell transfusion and thirty-day incidences of infection, venous thromboembolism, or mortality; however, the odds of mortality were higher in patients who received a transfusion during total knee arthroplasty.Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.