4. Aortic regurgitation
The heart pumps blood to the rest of the body through the aorta, which is the largest blood vessel in the body. Blood normally does not flow back from the aorta into the heart due to the presence of the aortic valve, a tripartite structure that closes momentarily after blood is pumped into the aorta.
In patients with a faulty or incompetent aortic valve, the blood leaks into the heart’s left ventricle with every heartbeat. Eventually, this becomes too much to handle and the heart is overloaded, causing congestive heart failure. This condition is particularly common in patients with infective endocarditis, but in many cases, it has no discernible cause.