To test the hypothesis that there would be a positive correlation between the interpeak wave (I-V) interval as measured by auditory brain stem evoked response and the ratio of umbilical cord blood arterial to venous lignocaine concentrations in infants born after maternal epidural anaesthesia, 10 normal infants born at full term by elective caesarean section were studied. Umbilical cord arterial and venous plasma samples were assayed for lignocaine, and auditory brain stem evoked responses were elicited at 35 and 70 dB at less than 4 (test 1) and greater than or equal to 48 hours (test 2). Mean wave I-V intervals were prolonged in test 1 when compared with test 2. Linear regression showed the arterial:venous ratio accounted for 66% (left ear) and 43% (right ear) of the variance in test 1 intervals. No association was found in test 2. In newborn infants, changes in serial auditory brain stem evoked response tests occur after maternal lignocaine epidural anaesthesia and these changes correlate with blood lignocaine concentrations.