I am interested about how they determined that your 2nd procedure was unsuccessful. Did you have recurrence of the arrhythmia? If in fact you still have atrial flutter, I know that the Mayo Clinic does, as a last resort for cure, perform a surgical procedure called a "mini maze." These are usually performed for curative measures for people who suffer with Afib, but there have been successes with Atrial Flutter as well. You could check out the Mayo Clinic online.
As for the medication. I haven't heard of any long term risks regarding long term use. Dr's will typically start you on a higher dose and then taper down as long if you have no recurring arrhythmia.
Along with Sotolol, you should be taking an anticoagulant like Coumadin or at the very least an antiplatelet like Aspirin. With Atrial Fib/Flutter there is an increased risk of stroke, so these 2 medications decrease your risk of suffering the catastrophic results of a stroke.
Where did you have your procedures done?
I hope that my info is helpful to you:)
My experience with the "mini-maze" is it didn't work. Fortunately the reason I had open heart surgery was to repair a mitral valve. Thus, while open anyway, a mini-maze was done. My surgeon gave it an estimated 60% chance of stopping my AFib. I fill in the 40% group.
It is also my understanding that the risks of open heart surgery, perhaps in the 3-5% range for serious complications including death and stroke, are taken only if the condition being worked is itself life threatening. In my case I was suffering heart enlargement which would lead to congestive heart failure in a few years.
Given you successful results from Sotalol I recommend to stick with the medication.
After my second surgery I was weaned off the medicine and after being completely off of it for a couple days the arrythmia started up again. I had the procedures done in Canada at the University of Alberta Hospital.
Thanks for the help, I appreciate it. The reason I have so many questions is because the doctors suggested doing the ablasion a third time, but they said they couldn't be sure if they would find the probem and i don't really like the idea of burning my heart wall when the doctors don't really know if it is accomplishing anything...