My nephew here in Australia is a Professor of Cardiology/Electrophysiology and I worked for him for some years.
Ablation is definitely the way to go nowadays for persistent arrhythmia - especially atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter or other disorders of the atrium or sinus node or other electrical pathways within the heart. It has a very good success rate although sometimes another follow up procedure may be needed as when they perform it they make a map of the electrical circuitry of the heart and there can be some gaps that are missed.... however, this is only in around one third of cases.
I felt impelled to write to you to ensure that you see not just a Cardiologist but a Cardiologist whose speciality is Electrophysiology. These are the guys who are fully equipped to handle arrhythmias.
Early defibrillation with some repeats (normally after having taken an anti arrhythmic drug for a few weeks beforehand and Warfarin) can be successful in early cases of atrial fibrillation - but the long term solution is ablation.
I pray that you will have success in finding an excellent Electrophysiologist and if you need any names I am sure Professor Sanders (my nephew who also travels and lectures all through the world - he's actually in Boston at the moment) would be happy to give me a name according to what area you are in.
In the interim, God bless.